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Home > What the Bank does > Banknotes


Bank notesOne of our most well-known responsibilities is to design and print banknotes and make sure they get to the places they’re needed.

Only the Bank of England can issue banknotes in England and Wales, but seven commercial banks can issue Scottish and Northern Irish notes.

Preventing fake notes 

We have to make sure that people have confidence in our currency – in other words, that they can feel sure that the notes they use are genuine. So we make sure the notes we issue include the latest anti-forgery features, and we provide training and education resources to help people spot fake notes.

Polymer banknotes 

In September 2016 we issued our first £5 note made from polymer – a thin, flexible plastic material. Polymer notes are much harder to forge, and they’re also longer lasting and cleaner than paper notes.
We’ll also be issuing polymer £10 and £20 notes over the next few years.
For more information on the polymer £5 note, go to