What does the Bank of England do?

The Bank of England is unlike banks you see on the high street or use for online banking. Instead, it is the central bank of the UK.
This page was last updated on 3 June 2020

The Bank of England has served the public for over 300 years by looking after the UK economy and financial system. 

We make sure you can pay for things

Here at the Bank of England we print the banknotes that you use to pay for things; and make sure they are strong, attractive and hard to forge. 

When you pay for things electronically, we are working behind the scenes to make sure you can make these payments every second of every day.

We monitor high street banks

We also make sure high street banks are safe and sound, and look at the entire financial system to reduce risks and keep it safe so money flows to where it is needed most. 

We set interest rates 

We set the key interest rate in the economy called Bank Rate which then filters down into the interest rates offered when you put money into a savings account, or take out a loan.

Businesses depend on loans to expand and hire more staff. So interest rates also matter for them and their employees.

We look after gold

There are around 400,000 gold bars stored in our vaults. We look after the UK's gold reserves and gold belonging to other central banks. We own very little gold of our own.  

Through everything we do, the Bank supports a strong and stable economy for the public we serve. 

  • Hi, my name is Tiago, and I work at the Bank of England. The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom. 

    We’re different to a bank that you would come across in the high street. That means we don’t hold accounts or make loans to the public. We issue banknotes that you spend in shops. There are over 3 billion of these notes in circulation, worth over £60 billion.  

    We set the official interest rate for the United Kingdom. This is called Bank Rate. It directly influences the cost of savings, loans and mortgage rates.  

    The Bank of England also keeps a close watch on the financial system, so you can have confidence that your money is safe, in good times and in bad.

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