Retailers and businesses will be much busier than normal over the Christmas and New Year period and often employ temporary staff, so there is an increased risk of counterfeit banknotes being passed.

To help protect your business, the Bank of England is encouraging all retailers to ensure all banknotes being passed in transactions are checked and to ensure all staff know what to do if they suspect a banknote is counterfeit.

What features should I check?

The Bank has launched supplementary educational materials which focus predominantly on two key security features on the £20 and the £50 notes to make it quicker and easier for you to train your staff to check banknotes at this busy time.

The training materials include short videos on how to check banknotes and a downloadable guide which focus on the:

  1. image flip of the hologram on the £20 and the motion thread on the £50; and
  2. bright £20 or £50 in the watermark next to the Queen’s portrait.




What should I do if I think I have a counterfeit note?

If you suspect that you have a counterfeit banknote, please take it to your nearest police station. The police should fill out an NCO-1 form and provide you with a receipt and incident number. The suspect notes will be sent to the National Crime Agency and if counterfeit to the Bank of England for further examination.

If you have information about someone making, selling or using counterfeit banknotes, please contact the police or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Bank of England recommends that you have a company policy and make staff aware of what is expected of them.

Training webinars for retailers and businesses

Retailers and business are invited to attend a free webinar on Tuesday 12 December 2017 – 11.00-12.00 where you can find out more about quick and easy checks to protect your business against counterfeiting.

The Bank of England will give advice on what your business can do if you suspect that you have accepted a counterfeit note and you can also find out more about the Banknote Checking Scheme.

Charles Darwin paper £10 notes will be withdrawn from circulation on 1 March 2018

The last day the public can use their paper £10 notes is 1 March 2018.  After this date they can be exchanged at the Bank of England in person or by post.

The public are encouraged to use their paper £10 notes or swap them at their banks, while businesses are encouraged to return paper £10s now, ahead of the withdrawal date.

As with any banknote withdrawal, all businesses that handle cash need to plan and prepare for the change:


  • Ensure you know which cash handling machines are being operated by your business and check whether an adaptation is required with your supplier.
  • Check your note supply agreement with your bank to understand whether they will continue to accept paper £10 notes after the withdrawal date.
  • Train your staff. An A4 poster is available to support staff training on withdrawal and available to download or order, free of charge, here
  • Manage your customers’ expectations. If you have not been able to adapt your machines before the note is withdrawn, have a process in place so that customers can exchange old notes if they are dispensed in change.

Related content