Exchanging old banknotes

Your own bank or the Post Office may exchange withdrawn Bank of England banknotes. Alternatively, exchange them with us by post

We have issued new £20 and £50 notes made of polymer.  30 September 2022 is the last day you can use our paper £20 and £50 notes.  

At your bank

If you have a UK bank account, the simplest and quickest way to exchange your notes will normally be to deposit them with your bank.

The Post Office may also accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services, or as a deposit into any bank account you can access with them.

With the Bank of England

By post

You can always exchange withdrawn notes with us by post.

Be aware the banknotes are sent at your own risk. So please take appropriate measures to insure against loss or theft.

Please complete a postal exchange form for individuals or businesses (available below). Send it with your banknote(s) and photocopies of ID (one photo ID and one proof of address) for any exchange (mandatory for any exchange of £700 or more) to Department NEX, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH. To check what we accept please see ‘Identification and proof of address’ below.

We can pay your money into a bank account (normally within ten working days), by cheque or, if you live in the UK and your exchange is worth less than £50, in new banknotes. We do not send banknotes overseas.

For payments to an overseas bank account, please provide the BIC/SWIFT Code and IBAN or Account number. Please note we can only pay into accounts that accept sterling (GBP). We do not charge for this service. However your bank or their intermediaries may charge you.

If we are unable to make an electronic payment, we will send a sterling cheque payable to you. We will always cash the cheque if presented at the Bank of England counter. Please give us 24 hours' notice if you wish to cash the cheque at our counter.

If you are an individual

To exchange your banknotes by post, please fill out the banknote exchanges application form and send it to us with the banknotes along with copies of your photo ID and proof of address.

If you are a business

To exchange your banknotes by post, please fill out the business banknote exchanges application form and send it to us along with:

  1. A covering letter on headed company paper containing the following: 
    • the company name
    • registered company number
    • registered office in country of incorporation
    • the full address for the business
    • preferred payment type – if this is a bank account, please provide the sort code and account number.
  2. A copy of photo ID and proof of address for the person signing the covering letter.

The Bank of England counter

The Bank of England Counter at Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH is currently open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday. It is closed at the weekend and on bank holidays. Unless you require your banknotes immediately, we would suggest sending your banknotes via the post.

The Bank of England counter can have long queues and waiting times may be up to an hour. Due to social distancing measures in place behind our Counter, we are operating on two tills.

Safety measures in place 

Additional Security measures are currently in place and access will only be permitted to the individual who is exchanging banknotes, we will ask members of your party or family to wait outside the building. Your bags will be searched and we request that liquids, bikes, scooters and motor cycle or bike helmets are not brought into the building.

We ask that customers wear a face covering and observe social distancing while in the building and remain two meters apart where possible.  Please do not visit the Bank of England if you are supposed to be isolating or in quarantine after international travel.

Exchanging banknotes in person

You may be asked to complete a form and need to provide two original identity (ID) documents (one photo ID and one proof of address) for any exchange (mandatory for any exchange of £700 or more). To check what we access, please see ‘Identification we accept’ below.

Before the exchange is complete you may be asked to provide more information or evidence to support the origin of the banknotes. If the money forms part of an estate, you need to provide copies of death certificate, wills or grant of probate.

We will give you new banknotes or pay the money into your bank account (normally within 10 working days). Please note we can only pay into accounts that accept payments in sterling (GBP). We do not charge for this service, however your bank or their intermediaries may charge you.

If you are exchanging the banknotes on behalf of someone else, you need to provide us with an original signed letter of authority from the owner, naming you and stating how they would like to be paid. You need to provide two forms of ID for both you and the owner of the banknotes.

If you are exchanging on behalf of a business, you need to bring the following with you:

  1. Original photo ID and proof of address for you.
  2. An original letter of authority naming you and signed by a representative of the company on headed paper. The letter must contain the following:
    • The company name
    • Registered company number
    • Registered office in country of incorporation
    • Preferred type of payment
  3. A copy of photo ID and proof of address for the representative who signed the letter.


There are steps at our front entrance on Threadneedle Street so we have a button to call for assistance next to the steps. It’s on the bottom left handrail at wheelchair level.

A portable writing table (eazydesk) is available for wheelchair users. Please ask a member of staff if you would like to use it. 

An induction loop is available at the counter.

Identification and proof of address

We accept the following identity documents and reserve the right to request identification and proof of address for an exchange of any value:

  • valid passport
  • valid photo card driving licence (full or provisional)
  • national identity card (if you are a non-UK national)
  • firearm or shotgun certificate.

We accept the following as proof of address:

  • valid photocard driving licence (full or provisional) – if you haven’t used this as proof of ID
  • electoral register entry
  • utility bill or certificate from utility supplier (dated within the past six months)
  • Council Tax bill (dated within the past six months)
  • bank, building society or credit union statement or passbook (dated within the past six months)
  • most recent mortgage statement
  • local council rent card or tenancy agreement
  • benefits book or letter from the benefits agency (dated within the past six months)
  • telephone bill (excluding mobile phones, dated within the past six months)
  • credit card bill (dated within the past six months)
  • HM Revenue and Customs tax notification (dated within the past six months)
  • Jobcentre Plus letter confirming your National Insurance number

Additional information

  • We may keep your banknotes to carry out additional checks if we need to. 

    If you are bringing €10,000 (or sterling equivalent) or more in banknotes into the UK from any non-EU country, these must be declared on entry to the UK.

  • Information we collect

    When completing a banknote exchange form, the Bank of England collects personal data about you. This includes your name, address, contact details and bank account information. Proof of identification, a utilities statement in your name and further background information may be required for higher value exchanges.

    Why we need your personal data

    We collect your personal data to assess your banknote application (in a way that complies with applicable laws and regulations, including Anti Money Laundering regulations) and to allow us to reimburse you the face value of your banknotes. Without this data, we cannot process your application. This is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of our official authority as the Central Bank of the United Kingdom.

    What we do with your personal data

    We use this information to confirm you are who you say you are, to facilitate increased checks for certain types of exchange including higher value exchanges, to audit our processes and to comply with applicable laws and regulations. We may make reference to your previous claims to the Bank, and in some instances commercial sources, to enable us to meet our obligations in assessing your application.

    When making payments, the Bank may provide personal data to financial institutions and payment systems involved. In complying with applicable laws and for law enforcement purposes, we may also disclose data to any government entity, regulatory authority or to any other person the Bank reasonably considers necessary. This may mean that personal data is transferred outside the European Economic Area. The Bank will not, however, disclose personal data to third parties for marketing purposes.

    Your data will be stored for a period that the Bank considers appropriate to support the prevention of crime and to enable its compliance with relevant laws.

    Your rights

    You have a number of rights under data protection laws. For example, you have the right to ask us for a copy of the personal data the Bank holds about you.  This is known as a ‘Subject Access Request’. You can ask us to change how we process or deal with your personal data, and you may also have the right in some circumstances to have your personal data amended or deleted.

    To contact us about those rights, including making a request for the personal data we hold about you or to make a complaint, please see our privacy page or write to us at:

    The Privacy Team
    Bank of England
    Threadneedle Street
    London, EC2R 8AH

    If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data not in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

    More information

    The Bank’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted via the details above and you can also find out more about how the Bank deals with your personal data on our privacy page.

Contact us

For more information please contact us by email at exchanges@bankofengland.co.uk or telephone 0203 461 5994 (Monday to Friday from 10am to 12pm).

Please note our phone lines will be closed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

This page was last updated 24 August 2021

Give your feedback

Was this page useful?
Add your details...