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Home > Banknotes > Current Banknotes

Current Banknotes

There are currently four different denominations of Bank of England notes in circulation.

Security features help you to identify genuine banknotes.

Take your time to check your notes, particularly if light conditions are poor or you are handling a large number of notes. Look for the security features described in these pages. Look at the note, and feel the note. Do not rely on one single feature. If you have doubts, compare the note with one that you know to be genuine.

There are some counterfeit notes about. They are completely worthless. Don’t get caught out – protect yourself and check your banknotes when you receive them.

It is a criminal offence to keep or pass on a note that you know to be counterfeit.

If you have a note that you believe is a counterfeit you must take it to the police as soon as you can. They will provide you with a receipt and send the counterfeit to the Bank for analysis. If the note is genuine reimbursement will be made in full.

Click on any image below and learn more about the respective security and design features of each note.

Alternatively, you could download our Banknote App (free to download for both Apple and Android devices)

£5 note (Elizabeth Fry)
Actual note size: 135mm x 70mm (approx.)

£5 Note (Elizabeth Fry) - Front
£5 Note (Elizabeth Fry) - Back


£10 note (Charles Darwin)
Actual note size: 142mm x 75mm (approx.)

£10 note (Charles Darwin) - Front
£10 note (Charles Darwin) - Back


£20 note (Adam Smith)
Actual note size: 149mm x 80mm (approx.)

£20 Note (Adam Smith) - Front
£20 Note (Adam Smith) - Back


£50 note (Matthew Boulton and James Watt)
Actual note size: 156mm x 85mm (approx.)

£50 note front (Matthew Boulton and James Watt) £50 note back (Matthew Boulton and James Watt)

£50 note (Sir John Houblon)
Actual note size: 156mm x 85mm (approx.)

This £50 note featuring Sir John Houblon on the reverse will be withdrawn from circulation on 30 April 2014. For more information see the withdrawal of the Houblon £50 note page.

Old-style £50 note front Old-style £50 note back
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Key Resources

Withdrawal of the Houblon £50 note - A4 Poster (English) (4.2MB)

Withdrawal of the Houblon £50 note - A4 Poster (Cymraeg) (4.2MB)

"take a closer look" Booklet
 (English) (7.4MB)
An easy to follow guide about the security features on all current banknotes. 

"take a closer look" Booklet
(Cymraeg) (5.9MB)
An easy to follow guide about the security features on all current banknotes.