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What to do with your old £5 notes

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

If you have an old five pound note, you’ll no longer be able to spend it in shops, but you don’t have to bin it either.

The old paper £5 note, featuring philanthropist Elizabeth Fry, lost its legal tender status on Friday meaning shops can no longer accept it or give you one in your change.

Only the new plastic £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill, which entered circulation in September last year, is legal tender.

According to the Bank of England’s (BoE) latest statistics to the end of April, there are approximately 150 million old £5 notes still in circulation.

If you haven’t spent all your old fivers or you’ve found some after raiding the piggy bank, all is not lost as there are still some options left to get them exchanged.

All 11,000+ branches of the Post Office will accept the notes as a deposit into any main UK bank account. This means you can deposit them into your bank account via the Post Office. The Post Office confirms there’s no end date for this free service.

Banks and building societies will still accept their own customers’ old paper notes but at their discretion.

If your bank or building society doesn’t accept the old fiver, you can exchange it for free at the Bank of England in London, either in person or by post.

There’s no time limit to how many old notes you can exchange and there’s no limit on the amount of cash you can swap at the BoE, but for large amounts, you may need to bring ID with you. Banks and building societies accepting them may impose their own deposit limits.

If you are sending money in the post, you may want to consider tracking your package to ensure it gets to the BoE safely though it will cost you more in postage fees.

The round pound

The new “most-secure” 12-sided pound coin entered circulation in March but the round pound is still legal tender.

Both pound coins will be in circulation at the same time until the old round pound loses its legal tender status at midnight on 15 October 2017.

As with the process for the old paper £5 note, after this date shops will no longer accept the round pound coins, but you will still be able to take them to your bank or to the BoE.