The old paper £5 notes, featuring Elizabeth Fry on the reverse, will be withdrawn from circulation on 5 May 2017.

After 5 May 2017, retailers and the public no longer have to accept the paper £5 note as payment or in change. The new polymer £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill will be the only £5 note with legal tender status. Some banks and building societies may accept paper £5 notes after 5 May, but this is at their own discretion. The Bank of England will continue to exchange Fry £5 notes for all time, as they would for any other Bank of England note which no longer has legal tender status.

To help remind your staff and customers of the changeover, the Bank of England has produced a withdrawal poster which you can display in your store. You can download the poster below.

Paper £5 Withdrawal Poster – English

Paper £5 Withdrawal Poster – Cymraeg

Paper notes issued by banks in both Scotland and Northern Ireland are not being withdrawn.

The new fiver enters circulation

On 13 September 2016, The Bank of England issued the UK’s first polymer banknote – the new £5 note (pictured above). This will be followed by a new £10 note in September 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.


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 The paper £5 note will be withdrawn from circulation after 5 May 2017.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.

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