Britons have just six days left to spend £11 billion ($12.4 billion) of paper banknotes before they cease to be legal tender.
The Bank of England (BOE) announced Friday that as of September 30, about £6 billion in old £50 notes and more than £5 billion in old £20 notes will no longer be recognised by UK businesses. There are more than 360 million notes in all that will be taken out of circulation.
People have only a small window to make use of their cash. The paper notes will be replaced by polymer £20 and £50 notes which have been in circulation for more than two years (since February 2020).
Additionally, as per Mirror UK, as of the next week, old bills featuring the face of Adam Smith, Matthew Boulton, and James Watt will no longer be accepted as legal tender.
Their replacements will have pictures of J.M.W. Turner and Alan Turing on £20 and £50 notes respectively.
Bloomberg reports that the paper currency can be exchanged for new money made of a polymer by showing up in person at the BOE's Threadneedle Street offices in London, mailing them through the post, or exchanging them at specific Post Offices. They can also be deposited into accounts at several commercial banks.
The decision to transition to polymer notes was made to increase the notes' resistance to damage and fight illegal counterfeiting.
In future, the synthetic notes will also be replaced to enable the distribution of notes carrying the image of King Charles III and to gradually phase out notes bearing the image of the late Queen.