The Bank of England has today (13 September 2016) issued the UK’s first polymer banknote – the new £5 note. This will be followed by a new £10 note in summer 2017 and new £20 note by 2020.

The new polymer notes are cleaner, safer and stronger than paper – incorporating advanced security features that make them more difficult to counterfeit. The new notes will also be smaller than the current paper notes.

Victoria Cleland, the Chief Cashier, said “This is a really exciting time and feedback from our Regional Roadshows demonstrates that many of the public are keen to use the cleaner, safer, stronger notes. Businesses have an important role in the introduction of the new notes, and I would encourage them to understand how to use the sophisticated new security features that deliver a leap forward in counterfeit resilience.”

Make sure you prepare

All retailers that handle cash need to prepare. The new £5 note will be issued on 13 September and, by January, around half the paper £5 notes will have been replaced with polymer £5 notes. The paper £5 note will be withdrawn from circulation in May 2017.

Staff need to be trained to recognise the new notes, and training materials are available free‐of‐charge from the Bank of England. For example, there’s a short video that introduces the key features of the new notes in just 90 seconds, a smartphone app, and a range of posters and leaflets. For more details, download the information sheet below.

Materials to support communications and staff training

Features to look for on the new polymer £5 note

  • Remember, do not rely on one feature, check a few.
  • Check the see‐through window and the clearly defined portrait of the Queen
  • Check the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) is gold on the front and silver on the back
  • Check the foil patch changes from ’Five’ to ‘Pounds’
  • Check the coronation crown appears 3D
  • Check the ultra‐violet feature

For more information about the new fiver, visit


For help and advice on making the switch, download the documents below.

Bank of England Factsheet – Polymer banknotes

Bank of England Q&A library – Polymer banknotes

Features to look for on the new polymer £5 note

Materials to support communications and staff training

The next Scottish £5 and £10 banknotes will also be printed on polymer.

What about ATM machines?

All ATM’s will require software updates and adjustments to the settings in order to take the new, smaller, lighter £5 note.

Related content