Polymer notes are also better for the environment. This is because they last longer and so we have to print fewer notes, which means less energy is used in manufacturing and cash transportation. When a polymer note has reached the end of its life it will be recycled into new plastic products.
The New Fiver has a number of security features which make it even harder to counterfeit. These include the see-through window and the foil Elizabeth Tower which is gold on the front of the note and silver on the back. You can learn more about these security features and how to check your notes here. Only a tiny proportion of notes are counterfeit - 0.0075% in 2015 – but we want to stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters and these new security features help us do this.
Each new polymer note is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper notes. This is because polymer is stronger than paper so the notes can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up into pockets.
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest statesmen of all time and is the only Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for literature. As he himself said, a "nation that forgets its past has no future". Our banknotes are repositories of the United Kingdom’s collective memory and are testaments to the outstanding achievements of the nation’s greatest individuals.
Like Churchill, the new polymer note will also stand the test of time. It is cleaner, being more resistant to dirt and moisture. It is safer, with better security features. And it is stronger, making it longer lasting and more environmentally friendly.
Governor of The Bank of England
The New Fiver was unveiled at Blenheim Palace on 2 June and was shown to the public at a number of events across the UK this summer.
The New Fiver entered circulation on 13 September.
On 5 May 2017 paper £5 notes ceased to be legal tender and will no longer be accepted by shops.
If you find or you still have some paper £5 notes you will be able to exchange them at the Bank of England either in person or by post.
The three Scottish banks have issued their own £5 and £10 polymer notes. Ulster Bank has announced plans to issue a polymer £5 and £10 in 2019. The Royal Mint issued a new £1 coin in March 2017.
The New Fiver is the first of the Bank of England’s new series of polymer notes.
The new polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen entered circulation on 14 September.
The new polymer £20 note featuring JMW Turner will enter circulation in 2020.
There are currently no plans to replace the £50 note featuring Boulton and Watt and we will announce the material for future £50 notes in due course.
The Bank of England periodically replaces notes to introduce the latest new security features and stay ahead of counterfeiters. It also means that we can feature new characters.
We have decided that our next £5, £10 and £20 notes will be printed on polymer, a thin flexible plastic, because polymer notes last longer, stay cleaner and are harder to counterfeit than paper notes. 87% of people who commented in our 2013 consultation supported the idea.
Torn / part notes
Chewed / eaten
Fire / damaged
Download the Blippar app, point your camera at any £5 note and see it transform into The New Fiver
The “Bank of England Banknotes” app is an interactive touch screen guide for checking your banknotes.
The Bank of England provides a range of free educational materials to help retailers identify genuine banknotes. More information about these can be found on our website.
Retailers also need to update machines that handle cash so they can recognise the new notes.
For more information on how to get your business ready for the new notes, please see our website.
In this document we detail the measures you can take to get ready for the new banknote.
In this document we detail the ways you can identify a counterfeit polymer banknote.