UK – The banknote that’s about to be withdrawn

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The £50 banknote featuring a portrait of Sir John Houblon on the back will no longer be accepted as legal tender after Wednesday (30th April).

The Bank of England announced it was withdrawing the note back in January as part of its strategy to combat fraud.

From Thursday 1st May only £50 notes depicting entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt, which launched in November 2011, will count as legal tender.

Check your cash

Sir John Houblon was appointed as the first Governor of the Bank of England in 1694. The £50 note celebrating him was issued in 1994 to coincide with the Bank of England’s 300th anniversary.

It’s estimated that there are around 63 million £50 notes (worth £3.2 billion) in circulation with Houblon’s portrait on it.

So if you’ve got some cash lying around you could have one or more of the notes about to be axed.

The Bank of England is advising people who find they have a Houblon £50 note to spend, deposit or exchange it before the 30th April deadline.

 

The note Sir John Houblon is to be withdrawn

What happens if you miss the deadline?

From the beginning of May, the Houblon note is unlikely to be accepted as payment by general retailers, though if you miss the deadline to spend it most banks and building societies will allow you to deposit or exchange your old-style notes.

Barclays, NatWest, Post Office, RBS and Ulster Bank have said they will exchange up to £200-worth of notes for customers and non-customers until 30th October 2014.

Santander will also swap the note until the end of October, but only for existing customers up to a limit of £250. Anything over this amount will need to be paid into a Santander account.

HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and TSB will also only allow existing customers to deposit the notes after the April deadline until the end of October, but won’t impose a limit, while Nationwide will allow existing customers to deposit the old £50 note on an ongoing basis after the April deadline with no limit.

[Who really owns your bank or building society?]

Your last resort

If you still have the old-style note from November 2014 and your bank or building society won’t exchange it, only the Bank of England will be able to help.

The Bank of England will always exchange old-series notes for their face value. You can choose to post any Houblon £50 notes you still have to be swapped (at your own risk) or go in person to do it at the Bank’s HQ in London.

Whichever method you go for you’ll need to fill in a public banknote exchange form and if you wish to exchange £1,000 or more you will need ID and proof of address.

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