Elgar £20 note to be phased out in weeksOld-style note will no longer be legal tender

07 June 2010

£20 Elgar bank note is being phased out

£20 Elgar bank note is being phased out

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. 

Sign up now to watch the Which? Money 2010 emergency budget liveblog

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will deliver the government’s emergency budget on Tuesday 22 June, and you can follow his speech as it happens on the Which? Money 2010 emergency budget liveblog.

Sign up now for an email reminder to join us for the Chancellor's budget speech, and come back to www.which.co.uk/emergencybudget on the day to get the Which? Money take on the budget and to add your questions and comments.

pound coins

Which? Money when you need it

You can follow @WhichMoney on Twitter to keep up-to-date with our Best Rates and Recommended Provider product and service reviews.

Sign up for the latest money news, best rates and recommended providers in your newsletter every Friday.

Or for money-saving tips, and news of how what's going on in the world of finance affects you, join Melanie Dowding and James Daley for the Which? Money weekly money podcast

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. And to find out how we work for you on money issues, visit our personal finance campaigns pages.