9 Things To Know About The New £20 Polymer Note

According to the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, the current £20 paper note will be replaced with a new note comes February 2020. Unlike the old note, the new £20 note will be polymer material just like the current £5 and £10. The new polymer £20 note is believed to be cleaner, durable and more secured to reduce counterfeit. So let’s have a quick look into some of the vital aspects of the new £20 polymer note.

new £20 polymer note
The new £20 polymer note (Source: Bank of England)

When will the new £20 polymer note be released into circulation?

The Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney has announced that the new £20 polymer banknote will be released into circulation on the 20th February 2020. Which means the current paper note will be phased out of circulation a couple of months after the new releases.

What are the top key security features on the new £20 note?

There are many security features on the new £20 which will make it very difficult for counterfeiters. However, there are two top key security features to focus on.

1 The first one is the changes in the hologram image as shown in the image below

How to exchange old banknotes
Security features on the new £20 polymer note (Source: Bank of England)

2 The second vital feature is the metallic see-through windows images which can be seen below

Security features on the new £20 note
Security features on the new £20 polymer note (Source: Bank of England)

Who is on the new £20 polymer note?

The new £20 polymer note features the image of a prominent British artist J.M.W. Turner. Turner’s self-portrait image appears on the reverse of the new note, together with his signature, one of his most distinguished paintings ‘’The Fighting Temeraire’’ and his famous quote ‘’light is therefore colour’’.

Why was J.M.W. Turner selected as the face of the new £20 notes?

Following the formation of the Banknote Character Advisory Committee (BCAC) in 2015 by the Bank of England, the field virtual arts was selected for the first time in history. The BCAC act gives the general public the opportunity to nominate public figures from the virtual arts. The exercise lasted for 2 months with over 29,000 nominees received from the public, out of which 590 of them were suggested and considered as eligible. The BCAC Committee submitted and discussed their shortlisted list with the Bank of England Governor who made the final selection. Guess who got the top slop? J.M.W. Turner was then selected as the face of the new £20 note.

What will happen to the current £20 paper note?

The current note remains a legal tender until the final withdrawal from circulation. The date the old note sizes to be legal tender will be announced by the Bank of England. Usually, a minimum of 3-6 months notices is issued to the general public in advance. So, as soon as the mop-up of the old note begins, then you will be able to exchange your old note with the new note

How to exchange old banknotes?

You can exchange your old banknotes for the new notes in person or by post at any of the following

1 Exchange banknotes at your bank

This may probably be the easier and fastest option for a UK bank account holder. All you need doing is to simply walk into your bank and deposit your old notes into your bank account as simple as ABC…

2 Exchange banknotes at the post office

You can also exchange your old notes at the post office. If your local post office accepts withdrawn notes, then you will be able to make withdrawn notes as payment of goods or services. Alternatively, you will be able to make a deposit into any bank account that is accessible through them.

3 Exchange banknotes at the Bank of England counter

You also have the option to exchange your old banknotes for the new ones at the bank of England counter located at Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH. This can be done in person or by post. Remember, sending cash by post to the bank at your own risk.

If you are exchanging banknotes worth £700 and above, it is compulsory to provide two proof of identity. 

One of which must contain your photo and the second will be proof of your address.

Accepted photo ID documents for individual

  • A valid full or provisional driving licence
  • A photo passport
  • A national ID card for a non-UK resident  
  • Firearm/shotgun certificate if you have one

Accepted proof of address for individual

  •  A valid full or provisional driving licence
  • Council tax
  • Phone bill/utility bill/credit card bill 
  • HMRC tax letter 
  • Bank statement
  • Mortgage statement
  • Tenancy agreement/local council rent card
  • Benefit book/letter 
  • Jobcentre letter with NI number

Requirements to exchange old banknote as a business

You must present an authorisation letter from the company representative and the letter must contain the following detail. 

  • Written with the company letter headed paper 
  • The company name
  • Company registered office address
  • Company registration number and 
  • The preferred mode of payment
  • Proof of address and photo ID of the company representative who authorised the letter
  • Must contain your name as a representative with your  own proof of address and photo ID

How to deal with counterfeit banknotes in your business?

The problem of banknotes counterfeit is becoming endemic to humanity. So, stopping the bad guys from producing and spending counterfeit banknotes may be impossible but the rate and impact can be reduced.

As a business owner, you can join the Bank of England free banknotes checking scheme. The goal of this scheme is to reduce the spreading of counterfeit banknotes in circulation.

Businesses that join this scheme enjoy some benefits such as

  • Your company get recognition for being a socially responsible company
  • Opportunity to build a relationship with the Bank of England and receiving up to date relevant information from the bank
  • Minimise the financial risk and reputation damages associated with counterfeit notes spreading to your business

Apart from joining the free banknotes checking scheme, the basic advice to business owners is simply not to accept counterfeit banknotes once checked and confirmed to be counterfeit. 

Remember, it is the responsibility of all citizen not to accept or spread counterfeit banknotes. We’ve all got a role to play. 

By Jo Smith – Contributor  |  21/10/2019

Jo Smith

Jo Smith

I am a freelance digital marketer with over 6 years of creating and managing digital contents to help business growth.


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