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All change as King Charles banknotes enter circulation

05 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Banknotes carrying a portrait of King Charles III will be issued for the first time on Wednesday. Image: PA Photo.

Banknotes featuring the King’s portrait are being issued from today, marking the first time that the sovereign has been changed on the Bank of England’s notes.

The new banknotes will co-circulate alongside those featuring Queen Elizabeth II.

The portrait of Charles will appear on all four banknotes – the £5, £10, £20 and £50 – with no other alterations to the existing designs.

Gradual change

However, people may only start to see the new notes appear in their change very gradually.

There are more than 4.6 billion Bank of England notes in circulation, worth about £82 billion.

In line with guidance from the Royal Household, the new notes will only be printed to replace those that are worn, and to meet any overall increase in demand.

The approach aims to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said: “We’re very pleased to be issuing the new King Charles banknotes.

“This is a historic moment, as it’s the first time we’ve changed the sovereign on our notes.

“We know that cash is important for many people, and we are committed to providing banknotes for as long as the public demand them. Bringing these new notes into circulation is a demonstration of that commitment.”

In April, Charles was presented with the first banknotes bearing his portrait.

He praised them as “very well designed” and expressed his surprise at being only the second monarch to feature.

Although the Bank of England started to produce banknotes in the 17th century, Charles’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was the first British sovereign to be given the honour in 1960 on a £1 paper note.

People will be able to snap up the new-look currency at selected Post Office branches.

King Charles III banknotes

One of the branches where the new banknotes are being made available is situated in Poundbury in Dorset, an area reflecting the King’s architectural principles.

Work started on Charles’s classically inspired extension to the Dorset town of Dorchester in the 1990s, to create an urban quarter of Dorchester where commercial buildings were mixed with residential areas, shops and leisure facilities for a walkable community.

The chosen Post Offices will initially have £5, £10 and £20 denominations of the new banknotes.

Thousands of Post Offices will receive the new-look currency over the coming days and weeks.

Excitement

Karen Stonham, branch manager at the Portsmouth Post Office, which is also among the initial branches to stock the new notes, said: “Our local customers come into our branch every day to withdraw or deposit cash for their daily needs, so we were excited to be one of the first branches to have the new banknotes available.”

Krishna Thakeria, branch manager at the Broadway Post Office in central London, which is also stocking the new banknotes, said: “The new-look notes hold a special significance for us at Broadway Post Office, given our proximity to Buckingham Palace and the historic Cabinet War Rooms.”

Recent figures from Post Office revealed a significant increase in cash transactions at its branches in April, with cash deposits and withdrawals across counters totalling a record £3.48 billion.

Ross Borkett, banking director at the Post Office, said: “This historic launch of the new banknotes featuring King Charles III comes as we experience the highest levels of cash withdrawals and deposits in Post Office branches.

“We’re pleased to be able to mark this day by giving people the opportunity to withdraw the new notes from our branches.”

While banknotes featuring Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender and there is no need to exchange them, people who are interested to see the new banknotes can now get their hands on them.

Facilities

The Bank of England has put temporary facilities in place to allow people to obtain a limited amount of the King Charles III banknotes.

It has set up a postal exchange service, running from June 5 to 30, up to a limit of £300 per customer. An application form and further details are on the Bank of England’s website.

The Bank of England counter at Threadneedle Street in central London will also be issuing new notes featuring the King from June 5 to 11 and the same limit of £300 per customer applies.

Visitors to the Bank of England Museum have been able to catch a first glimpse of the new banknotes, before they entered circulation, in its Future Of Money exhibition.

Graham Mott, director of strategy at ATM and cash access network Link, said: “While more people are paying for things online or using contactless cards, cash use remains popular, with over 70% of adults spending cash at least once a fortnight.

“As King Charles III banknotes begin to enter circulation, they will steadily be available through all cash machines as worn notes are withdrawn.”

A recent survey for Link indicated that nearly half (48%) of people expect to see a cashless society in their lifetime.

But, according to Link’s data, the average UK adult still withdrew around £1,500 from cash machines last year.

In 2023, legislation was passed as part of the Financial Services and Markets Act, to protect access to cash.

Initial availability

Here are the locations and postcodes for the Post Office branches where the notes will be available first on launch day, with a gradual rollout to others in the coming weeks, none of which are in Wales:

Piccadilly Plaza (Manchester), M2 1BB

Sunderland City, SR1 1RR

Portsmouth, PO1 1AB

Birmingham, B2 4AA

The City of London, EC2M 5TE

Moorgate, EC2M 5TE

Broadway, SW1H 0AX

Great Massingham, PE31 6HP

Tetbury, GL8 8DB

Minchinhampton, GL6 9BN

Windsor, SL4 1AA

Houndsditch, E1 7BS

Woodstock, OX20 1SP

Poundbury, DT1 3AZ


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Frank
Frank
11 days ago

When the announcement was made to replace the old paper notes it was claimed that the new notes were practically indestructable. Well, the article above states that new notes will be printed to replace the current damaged ones. So what happened to ‘indestructable’? Also once the current notes are folded the crease remains in them and straightening them out again is nigh on impossible.

karl
karl
11 days ago

Image looks photoshopped. Luckily I will never hhandle an English note again. Physical currency is no longer needed. Even bank cards are dead in the water now.

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