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Home > Banknotes > Moving to Polymer Banknotes > Getting Your Business Ready

Getting Your Business Ready

The new polymer fiver was issued on 13 September 2016. The new £10 note will be issued in September 2017 and the £20 note by 2020.  As with any change in banknote design, all businesses that handle cash need to plan and prepare.
As legal tender status has now been withdrawn, you are no longer obliged to accept the paper £5 but can do at your own discretion. 
Further information on the move to polymer banknotes is available from the Key Resources section below, including a two page factsheet and a Q&A library, and from
Adapting cash handling machines
Cash handling machines will need to be adapted for the new notes.  These machines include self-service check-outs, ATMs, ticket machines, and any other machine that weighs, counts, sorts, accepts, dispenses or recycles banknotes.
Adaptation is likely to require a software update, which is normal practice when a new banknote design is issued.  Additional hardware upgrades may be required for some machines because of the change to a polymer substrate and the reduction in size of the notes.
Any businesses that use cash handling machines should engage directly with their manufacturer to discuss what adaptations will be required.  Before purchasing a new machine, businesses should ask if it is compatible with the new banknotes.
A list of machine manufacturers who have been offered access to test notes can be downloaded from the Key Resources below.  If your manufacturer is not listed, please let us know at
Training for staff who handle cash
Staff who handle cash will need to be able to recognise and authenticate the new notes. 
A range of training materials for retailers and businesses are available for the new £5 note, which was issued in September 2016.
The new notes will retain the traditional look of our existing banknotes but they will reduce in size:
​  Winston Churchilll Banknote

Sir Winston Churchill banknote
The New Fiver features Sir Winston Churchill and is 125mm x 65mm. The current paper £5 note, featuring Elizabeth Fry, is 135mm x 70mm.
Jane Austen banknote

Jane Austen banknote
The new £10 note will feature
Jane Austen and will be 132mm x 69mm. The current paper £10 note, featuring Charles Darwin, is 142mm x 75mm.
J.M.W. Turner banknote

J.M.W. Turner banknote
The new £20 note will feature J.M.W. Turner and will be 139mm x 73mm. The current paper £20 note, featuring Adam Smith, is 149mm x 80mm
Collaborative planning and preparation
The decision to move to the new banknotes was informed by engagement with a wide range of stakeholders in the cash industry. This initial work gave the Bank confidence that the industry would be able to adapt to smaller polymer notes. The Bank is committed to working collaboratively with businesses to support a smooth transition.
The Bank has hosted six Industry-wide Forums in February and October 2014, May and November 2015, and May and November 2016 which were attended by over 100 organisations in the cash industry including financial institutions, ATM operators, cash-in-transit companies, banknote equipment manufacturers, retailers, and trade associations. The next Forum is planned for June 2017.
Keeping up to date
To receive emails with news and updates about the introduction of polymer notes, please join our mailing list.
If you would like any further information, please contact:

Key Resources

Getting your business ready
 (updated February 2017) 
 (updated February 2017) 
Q&A Library
 (updated February 2017)
 Working group members by organisation 
 (updated February 2017)
Banknote equipment manufacturers 
 (updated February 2017)