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What you can do with old £5 notes – and where you can still spend paper fivers

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If you have any old Bank of England £5 notes (the paper ones!) that you haven’t spent, all is not lost. Find out what you can do with old £5 notes and where you can still spend them.

What you can do with old £5 notes

It’s only the Bank of England old paper £5 notes that cease to be legal tender on May 5th. Although Scottish £5 notes are also being replaced by plastic fivers, old Scottish notes don’t cease to be legal tender.

I’ve asked the major banks whether they’re accepting old Bank of England paper £5 notes. This is what they told me:

Barclays: will allow its own customers to deposit old £5 notes into their accounts (either personal or business). There’s no time limit.

Co-op Bank: will continue to accept old £5 notes from its own customers in their branches for a limited period of time. It hasn’t said how long this time period will be as it depends on a third party supplier but says it will tell customers ahead of this deadline.

HSBC: will accept withdrawn banknotes from its customers after the withdrawal date. You can either exchange them for new £5 notes or pay them into your account. There is no limit per customer.

Lloyds: accepts old £5 in its branches if you’re one of its customers. There’s no deadline for bringing them in. You can either exchange them for new, plastic fivers or pay them into your account.

Nationwide: is continuing to accept the old £5 notes from existing customers. You can’t exchange them for new notes but you can get the money paid into your Nationwide account. There is no set end date and no limit on the number of notes accepted

NatWest/RBS: will allow its own customers to deposit old £5 notes into their accounts. There’s no time limit.

Santander: will allow its own customers to deposit old £5 notes into their accounts. There’s no time limit.

Exchanging old £5 notes at the Bank of England

You can exchange old £5 notes at the Bank of England. You can do this by post or in person. You might not realise this, but the Bank of England has its own mini branch – and you can use that to pay in old £5 notes. Find out more about exchanging old notes on the Bank of England’s website.

Where you can spend old £5 notes

Shops are within their rights not to accept old £5 notes from the end of May 5th. Some vending machines and self-service checkouts may well accept them, so you could try your luck.

The good news is that the Post Office will let you use your old old £5 notes to pay for stamps, postage and to pay bills. You can also pay old fivers into your bank account at Post Office branches. There’s a list of banks and what you’re able to do on the Post Office websites. Depending on the bank you’re with, you may need to pay in cash with a personalised paying in slip or using your debit card.

Check your change!

If you’re out shopping, check that you’re not being given an old £5 in change. If you’re offered one, you don’t have to accept it. Equally, if you have an old Bank of England £5 note, shops aren’t obliged to take them.

Give old fivers to charity

A number of charities will accept old Bank of England £5 notes. If there’s a charity you support, contact them direct and ask if they’d like a donation of old fivers. I’m sure they won’t say no!

Related articles: 

Ten things you need to know about Bank of England banknotes

New £1 coin from March 28th – when will the old £1 coin expire?

VIDEO: Five facts about the new plastic fiver

VIDEO: Victoria Cleland: Chief Cashier of the Bank of England

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