The £20 note featuring an image of Edward Elgar (pictured right) will cease to be legal tender in just over three weeks.
As of 30 June, shops will no longer have to accept the notes – and although banks, building societies and the Post Office may choose to exchange Elgar £20 notes after this date, they will not have to.
From 1 July, the newer £20 notes picturing Adam Smith – first introduced three years ago – will supersede the Elgar notes, originally issued in 1999.
The decision to withdraw the Elgar notes from circulation centres on security. £20 notes with the Adam Smith image have design features, such as raised lettering, that make them more difficult to forge.
Exchange your old £20 notes
However, there may still be millions of the old-style £20 notes in consumers’ wallets. Back in March it was estimated that 150m Elgar notes – worth £3bn – remained in use.
If you have any of these notes in your possession it makes sense either to spend them, or swap them at your bank, between now and the end of the month.
However, after the deadline for the withdrawal of the Elgar note has passed you will still be able to substitute your old twenties for new ones at the Bank of England. It promises it will always exchange old notes, either in person or by post.
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