Everything you need to know about new money

Last September, the Bank of England released a brand new £5 note. This year, on 28th March, they’ll be releasing a new £1 coin.

But what do these new releases mean for consumers? Why are we issuing new currency at all, and what should people do with their old notes and coins? We answer all these questions and more in this new money FAQ.

When will the new currency come into effect?

The new £5 was released by the Bank of England on the 13th September 2016. The new £1 coin will be released into circulation on the 28th March 2017.

What’s the difference between the old and new currency?

The biggest change in the new £1 coin is the fact that’s it’s 12-sided, instead of round.

The new £1 coin also comes with a wide range of security features to make it harder to forge. These include micro-lettering, a ‘holographic’ image, and milled edges. Given that approximately one in thirty £1 coins are counterfeit; these new security features are a welcome addition.

The new £5 note is the first Bank of England note to be made from polymer. Polymer notes, unlike their paper counterparts, are far more durable whilst still remaining thin and flexible.

This is not only better for consumers, who no longer have to worry about torn notes being accepted, but it is also better for the environment since fewer notes will need to be re-printed. What’s more, the polymer note is recyclable, which means at the end of its lifespan it can be re-made into other plastic objects.

Like the new £1 coin, the new £5 note is also harder to forge, due to added features such as microscopic writing beneath the Queen’s portrait.

Can I still use my old coins and notes?

Yes – for a while.

The old £5 will cease to be legal tender on 5th May 2017. This means that after this date, shops will no longer accept old notes.

The old £1 will go out of circulation on 15th October 2017.

What do I do with my old coins and notes?

Once the old £5 notes and £1 coins go out of circulation, you’ll no longer be able to spend them. However, you will still be able to exchange them for new coins and notes at your local bank or deposit them into your bank account or Post Office account.

If your local branch won’t exchange your currency, you can visit the Bank of England in London, who will swap your old money for new.

Are there any more plans for new notes or coins?

Yes, the Bank of England plans on introducing two new notes into circulation in the coming months and years.

The new £10 note (featuring Jane Austen) will enter circulation in summer 2017, and the new £20 note (featuring JMW Turner) will enter circulation by 2020. Both of these new notes will be made out of polymer, like the new £5 notes. 

Last updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2017


Sign up to our money-saving emails!


We value your privacy, see here.



Join 100,000s of SAVVY SAVERS who read our WEEKLY email. Get our round up of ALL the best money saving SECRETS, FREEBIES and BIGGEST SAVERS. Don't miss out!