Banknote statistics

There are over 4.5 billion Bank of England notes in circulation. Together they are worth about £80 billion.

Our banknote statistics

Each year, we publish how many of our banknotes are in circulation and how much they are worth.  We say the number of notes we issue and destroy, the number of counterfeits found, and how many claims we get for damaged notes. And we compare the data with previous years.

Use the icon on the top right hand corner of the charts to download data. You can toggle data series on and off.

Notes in circulation

The total value of our notes in circulation has tended to increase over time with growth driven in recent years by the £20 and £50 note. We measure the value of notes in circulation on the last day in February each year.

The value of banknotes in circulation (£ millions)

£5 £10 £20 £50 Total1 Other notes2
2014 1540 7182 36483 11025 56230 3967
2015 1601 7371 38912 11788 59671 4118
2016 1645 7767 41037 13157 63606 4212
2017 1912 8006 43357 15601 68876 4322
2018 1910 7789 42692 16508 68899 4351
2019 1979 10524 40129 17210 69841 4330
2020 2068 13377 37143 17574 70161 4261
2021 2034 15405 44742 17850 80031 4661

1 Total is the sum of £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes excluding all other notes. See below.
2 Higher value notes used as cover for the note issues of banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

The volume of banknotes in circulation (millions)


£5 £10 £20 £50 Total1
2014 308 718 1824 221 3071
2015 320 737 1946 236 3239
2016 329 777 2052 263 3421
2017 382 801 2168 312 3663
2018 382 779 2135 330 3626
2019 396 1052 2006 344 3799
2020 414 1338 1857 351 3960
2021 407 1541 2237 357 4541

1 Total is the sum of £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes excluding all other notes.

Growth in the value of our notes in circulation

The two main ways to measure yearly growth of notes in circulation (NIC) are:

  • Peak-to-peak, which measures the difference between the peak levels of NIC (usually leading up to Christmas) each year.
  • Average year-on-year, which measures the difference between the average level of NIC each year.

The charts below show how peak-to-peak and average growth have varied for each of our notes, and overall, over the past decade.

Peak to peak banknote growth rate

Peak-to-peak measures the difference between the peak level of notes in circulation each year (usually in the run up to Christmas).

Average banknote growth rate

Average year-on-year measures the difference between the average level of notes in circulation each year.

Value of banknotes issued (£ millions)

Each year we issue new banknotes to replace unfit ones and to meet any increases in overall demand. The value of each denomination issued are shown in the table below.

£5 £10 £20 £50 Total
2013/14 793 2141 5281 2260 10474
2014/15 869 2433 6202 2165 11668
2015/16 977 5683 5056 1831 13547
2016/17 1643 4008 6382 3188 15220
2017/18 386 8192 3291 2169 14039
2018/19 154 3568 1211 1616 6549
2019/20 229 2993 5323 370 8915
2020/21 58 2866 30627 146 33697

Value of banknotes destroyed (£ millions)

Each year we destroy banknotes that have become unfit for use. The value of each denomination destroyed are shown in the table below.

£5 £10 £20 £50 Total
2013/14 927 2811 3821 1874 9432
2014/15 1001 2351 3848 1739 8939
2015/16 893 5250 3547 481 10172
2016/17 1509 4058 3371 484 9422
2017/18 1192 7785 3474 506 12956
2018/19 131 4895 5327 312 10665
2019/20 128 490 9796 865 11279
2020/21 106 250 26932 191 27478

Damaged notes

When one of our banknotes gets damaged we will exchange it, if at least half of it remains. We receive thousands of claims to replace damaged banknotes each year. 

The first chart below shows the number of claims we received and why. The second chart shows how much we paid to reimburse customers.

Number of claims and cause of damage

We receive thousands of claims each year from members of the public, banks, businesses and the police. This chart shows the number of claims and what caused the damage.

Value of exchanged banknotes

We exchange millions of pounds worth of banknotes. This chart shows how many British pounds we exchanged for each type of damaged banknote.

We have rounded the numbers to the nearest 1,000.

Counterfeit notes

Only a small fraction, typically less than 0.02% of banknotes are counterfeit, that is less than 1 in 5,000 banknotes. Counterfeit notes are created illegally and are worthless. You can identify them by following our guide on how to check your banknotes.

Counterfeit notes are removed from circulation by banks and the police and are sent to us for analysis. These charts show the number we receive each year and their notional face value (they are worthless).

Number of counterfeit notes discovered

This chart shows how many counterfeit notes we receive and their denomination. The figures include both current and old banknotes series. We have rounded the numbers to the nearest 1,000. Data includes counterfeits of both current and old series notes. The national lockdowns and lower transactional usage of cash acted to reduce counterfeiting during H1 2020.

Year £5 £10 £20 £50 Total  Value (£ millions) Number removed before entering circulation (bulk seizures)
2005 6000 7000 485000 6000 504000 10.1 45000
2006 8000 8000 367000 6000 389000 7.8 8000
2007 4000 6000 284000 4000 298000 6.0 15000
2008 4000 6000 692000 3000 705000 14.1 13000
2009 4000 21000 544000 3000 572000 11.3 20000
2010 6000 11000 285000 4000 306000 6.0 42000
2011 6000 122000 257000 2000 387000 6.5 0
2012 4000 163000 564000 16000 747000 13.7 9000
2013 5000 249000 435000 16000 705000 12.0 8000
2014 2000 96000 327000 15000 440000 8.3 0
2015 1000 53000 174000 23000 251000 5.2 0
2016 2000 23000 303000 27000 355000 7.7 10000
2017 1000 43000 400000 33000 477000 10.1 0
2018 1000 8000 427000 37000 473000 10.5 7000
2019 0 2000 384000 43000 429000 9.9 524000
H1 2020 0 4000 80000 10000 94000 2.1 33000

Notional face value of counterfeit notes discovered

This chart shows the total notional face value of notes we have removed and their denomination. The figures are in millions of British pounds. They are rounded to the nearest £1,000. Data includes counterfeits of both current and old series notes. The national lockdowns and lower transactional usage of cash acted to reduce counterfeiting during H1 2020.

Counterfeit banknotes are worthless. Data includes counterfeits of both current and old series notes.

This page was last updated 25 March 2021

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