Still got old five pound notes, tenners or pound coins? Here’s what to do

We’ve had a whole host of new currency introduced recently, but what should you do if you still have old coins or notes knocking about?

The answer depends on what kind of currency you have, and how long ago it went out of date – while you can still exchange the recently changed notes and coins, you may be out of luck if you find any half-pence or farthings.

MoneySavingExpert recently estimated the combined value of unreturned £5 and £10 notes at £1,840,000,000 (one billion, eight hundred and forty million pounds). That’s a lot of cash to be sitting on, and even if you just have a couple of old fivers gathering dust, you might as well make them earn their keep. 

Find out what to do with old five pound notes in our guide below.

How to change old notes

Both the old £10 note and the old £5 note are no longer in circulation, but if you still have some, there are a number of options.

Some banks may allow you to deposit old notes directly into your account. Alternatively, the Post Office allows you to deposit old notes into a wider range of bank accounts, which is ideal for those who don’t live or work close to a branch.

However, these organisations may discontinue this service in future.

If that happens, you’ll always be able to exchange your notes with The Bank of England, either in person or by post (at your own risk), as the Bank will honour every note it has ever issued, even if it’s damaged.

It’s worth taking along two original forms of ID, as you may be asked to prove who you are before they’ll exchange your old notes. This is mandatory if you’re bringing along £700 or more.

Read our full article on the new bank notes for information on how to spot a forgery and other things small businesses should be aware of.

What to do with old pound coins

Unlike bank notes, UK coins are produced by the Royal Mint, who take no responsibility for coins that are no longer in circulation.

However, most banks have said that they will accept old pound coins indefinitely, though you will need to be a customer of that particular bank. If you take your coins in, they can either be exchanged for new ones or deposited into your bank account, and there is no minimum or maximum number that can be exchanged at once.

The exact rules vary from bank to bank – for example, at Santander you can only deposit coins, not exchange them.

When is the next currency change going to happen?

The next lot of currency that’s due to be switched out for a modernised version is the £20 note, but this isn’t due to happen until 2020.

When it does happen, there’ll be a similar adjustment period as when the new £5 and £10 notes were introduced, but if you miss the deadline for spending your old notes again, you’ll still be able to get them exchanged by the Bank of England.

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