back to article Spend your paper £5 notes NOW: No longer legal tender after today

You’ve got until the end of today to spend your old paper £5 notes before they cease to be legal tender. The individually short-lived banknotes, notorious for falling apart – particularly if left in the back pocket of your jeans after you pop them in the wash – will be replaced by the new plastic versions that have been rolled …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "up by 6,000 per cent (1957 prices being the equivalent of 5p in today’s money) to a UK-wide average of £3"

    I calculate 1957 price of a pint of beer, in today's money, as around £1.50 -- so an increase of 100%. Not sure where this crazy 6000% figure came from? Diane Abbott?

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      I also seem to recall duty on beer being increased several times in my lifetime so it's not a like for like comparison.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      "Not sure where this crazy 6000% figure came from? Diane Abbott?"

      More likely to be George Osborne and his replacement.

      What's that? Deficit down by 2015? OK Sound.

      What's that? Deficit down when? YOU SAID 2015! Get a new calculator.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Deficit down by 2015

        I think he meant :

        Deficit down by 2015 pound

    3. Dave Pickles
      Headmaster

      What the reporter meant, methinks, is that in 1957 the price of beer was one shilling per pint, or 5p in today's (decimal) money. Hence the 6,000 percent is correct in absolute terms but not when inflation and taxes are taken into account.

      1. Bill Fresher

        "What the reporter meant, methinks, is that in 1957 the price of beer was one shilling per pint, or 5p in today's (decimal) money."

        I always take "today's money" as meaning inflation adjusted.

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        "Hence the 6,000 percent is correct in absolute terms but not when inflation and taxes are taken into account."

        Actually the 6000% is mostly inflation; that's exactly how currencies get devalued. But, relative to inflation, different things go up or down by different amounts. Cars have got much cheaper in real terms, public transport has got more expensive.

        I find the new £5 note just about ideal for the few places that still need physical money as it's much lighter than £5 in coins. I can't help feeling that before long the main uses for coins will be parking meters and the Big Issue. And the only reason for parking meters is that they are designed for the convenience of the operators, not the customers, because car parks are an inelastic good and they can get away with it.

        1. Naselus Silver badge

          Fairly sure parking meters will be switched to a smartphone app soon enough.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            A lot around here are Pay by Bonk.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Bloody nuisance when you're a tourist with a phone on a non-sterling account, and your 1 GBP parking charge ends up as 2 or 3 $/euros after commission and conversion flat fee.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "Bloody nuisance when you're a tourist with a phone on a non-sterling account, and your 1 GBP parking charge ends up as 2 or 3 $/euros after commission and conversion flat fee."

              Likewise the many, not "few", shops which still take cash when all you want is a quid or two worth of snacks and there's an up to 85p surcharge for paying by card/phone/bonk. Do that just a few times per week and over a year it starts looking like a significant "convenience" factor some people are paying for. I suspect that cash will here for long, long time to come unless that banks and card processors massively reduce their cut of every transaction. Small local shopkeepers in particular have to have the card readers or lose trade, but they have to rent the reader, pay for insurance, spend time and money on certification, wait ages for repairs when they break and then the bank takes a cut too.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                "I suspect that cash will here for long, long time to come unless that banks and card processors massively reduce their cut of every transaction. "
                It's amazing how often you can hustle for a discount when you pay by "poor people's credit" (cash).

                Back when cheques were the thing I used to write cash cheques for local use. A gratifying number either remained in circulation, or got lost each year.

  2. Velv Silver badge
    Flame

    I'm still waiting for all those up in arms about the use of tallow in the production of the notes to realise just how many other day to day objects rely on similar catalysts and production methods.

    The clothes they're wearing. The car they drive in (or bus, or train). The chair they're sitting on. The machine that makes the Quorn mince...

    Don't get me wrong, there are some very conscientious people who do the research and successfully navigate the pitfalls. But they tend to do it quietly and not make a song and dance about infringing their beliefs.

    1. Dr. G. Freeman
      Coat

      Good point, it's not as if they're eating the new fivers.

      I did once, put on a few pounds.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        @G Freeman

        Are you sure you didn't actually lose a few Pounds?

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Velv

      Like I always say: Just because someone has a belief or opinion it doesn't make them right.

    3. Jonathan 27

      Oil is made of animals too (very old ones), so any plastics or synthetic materials also come from animals. It's functionally impossible to exist in our society without using something made out of animals.

      1. swissarmyknife

        Sorry, no...it's not made from old animals. The whole "fossil" fuel thing, actually started as an ad campaign. Hence, having oil on Cassini does not mean "life"...etc.

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Oil - made from animals?

          Whilst there have been repeated suggestions that petroleum might have an abiogenic origin, including by famous scientists such as Dmitri Mendeleev and Thomas Gold; the widespread presence of porphyrins in petroleum suggests the vast majority of Earth's oil comes from algae and zooplankton. There are tiny amounts of hydrocarbons here on Earth that may have been formed by processes such as serpentinisation or the decomposition of carbonates, none have unequivocally been proven to be abiogenic.

          That doesn't exclude petroleum-like compounds forming on Titan and elsewhere in the Solar System through abiogenic processes such as UV polymerisation of methane. And of course, the discovery of methane plumes in the Martian atmosphere is most probably due to serpentinisation of a warm, olivine-rich Mantle by water and carbon dioxide.

          The term 'fossil fuel' dates from the 1759 when it was used in reference to the novel process of smelting iron using coal (which occasionally contains obvious plant matter), so it long predates marketing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the simple solution is to get rid of all the environmentalists worried about cows or palm oil.

      Problem solved.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        But environmentalists make very bad oils for fivers when we extract their juices.

    5. druck
      FAIL

      Not even 1 cow

      Not even one cow was killed for the tallow, it's a by-product from animals slaughtered for meat.

  3. Jonathan 27

    Yeah...

    It's interesting that the UK does this. Canada, where I live, switched to polymer bank notes for all denominations starting in 2013 and all the previous bills are still considered legal tender, including the old-format bills they discontinued 20+ years ago.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Yeah...

      The Bank of England will accept them (pretty much?) forever, as that's the entity who makes the "Promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of XXX".

      You walk in, hand over your ancient currency, they check that it's real and hand you a crisp new one.

      However, shops don't have to take older editions of currency after a relatively short changeover period.

      The reason for retiring old coins and notes is because the forgers eventually get too good at making the old designs, making it much too difficult for a normal person to spot them.

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    Old fivers

    Wre not that weedy, quite hard wearing in most usage

    No worry with new fiver about one getting left in pocket and going in washing machine - new fivers are so damn slippy they tend to worm their way out of pockets as you move so mine now go in a wallet instead of in pocket

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Can confirm

      I have lost at least $70 this way

  5. lybad

    Not UK Fivers

    It's only the Bank of England ones that stop being legal tender - and even then, if you go to your own bank, or the Bank of England themselves, they will exchange or pay in the current paper notes.

    However, there's still loads of paper £5 notes that will still be valid, as RBS, Clydesdale, Bank of Scotland, etc. notes will still be in circulation. The fact that a load of people in England have issues with them doesn't change that.

    1. Julian Bradfield

      Re: Not UK Fivers

      But the other banks' banknotes aren't legal tender anyway, not even in Scotland.

      1. lybad
        Meh

        Re: Not UK Fivers

        At no point did I say the notes were legal tender. I said valid exactly for that purpose.

        The point is that you won't be bale to spend paper Bank of England £5 notes - but you can spend other banks ones. The story doesn't mention that there are other perfectly acceptable £5 notes in use in the UK.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Not UK Fivers

          The story doesn't mention that there are other perfectly acceptable £5 notes in use in the UK.

          That's because the story is about the expiration of the old Bank Of England £5 note, not the death the the £5 genus generally..

  6. John H Woods Silver badge

    Legal Tender

    "... local High Street shops and banks no longer have to take them after today."

    Logal High Street shops don't have to take any money they don't want to. No Fifties, No Scottish Money, No Coppers --- they could even refuse to serve people who want to pay in cash. Or even Stirling.

    Perhaps your local corner shop would have to take it if you were paying your newspaper bill or settling some other account. Legal tender is that which, when offered, must be taken towards settlement of a debt. So perhaps a restaurant like Pizza Express, where you sort-of incur a debt before paying? But not Nandos, where they make you pay up front, to make sure you can't object to the bill.

    PS: Handy hint: if you get you and your date a McDonalds Peri-Peri chicken wrap meal each, and set fire to a twenty, it's exactly like eating at Nandos.

  7. Tank boy
    Trollface

    I had no idea

    Who knew you folks were having such problems with your actual cash? That's not saying that the US Dollar is indestructible, it needs to be replaced every so often,, but since it's not actually paper, seems to last for quite a while. There would be mass confusion here in the States if they came out with some new-fangled money, probably a bit (a shitload) of outrage from the lunatic fringe. I fear the day when the Treasury does away with the penny. There will be riots in the streets. At least out in the hinterlands where Trump reigns supreme.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I had no idea

      You think doing away with the penny will cause riots.

      There are some places (Australia? Canada?) that round up or down to eliminate change entirely. If it's x.50 or over, you get an extra dollar back If it's under, you get only the dollar amount, no change. The theory is that it evens out in the end (which it probably does).

      Me? I dump my change in the tips jar, if there is one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I had no idea

        "You think doing away with the penny will cause riots."

        Without the penny what else would I give my chauffeur for his Christmas bonus?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I had no idea

          "Without the penny what else would I give my chauffeur for his Christmas bonus?"

          Advice on where to find pennies?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I had no idea

          "Without the penny what else would I give my chauffeur for his Christmas bonus?"

          My dear boy, I've been using hearty handshakes for years. Mind you since cutting his bonus I have been informed by my accountant that the fuel economy on the old Rolls has dropped to 0.5mpg.

          Ive had the mechanic take a look at it and he thought it might be the heavy alloy wheels. Nice chap, he replaced them with modern light weight steel wheels for free. He even recycled the old wheels for free. He came highly recommended via the chauffeur. An Irish sounding chap with a large collection of horses. Lives in a caravan you know. He's even offered to have his lads mow the lawn for me and check the roof on my country pile. Hard working chaps, I told them I was going away for a jaunt to Monaco for two weeks. No problem they said, you'll be done by the time you get back. Marvellous.

      2. Def Silver badge

        Re: I had no idea

        Norway ditched its 50 øre coin (half a krone; about five pence) a few years ago, so all prices are rounded up or down if you're paying with cash. If you're paying with a card you still pay the exact amount.

        I mostly stopped using cash about 10 years ago, and completely stopped about five years ago when I stopped taking public transport every day.

        The only thing I need cash for now, rather ironically, is to pay the entrance fee for the English comedy club nights which don't have a fixed abode, so pop up in random bars around Oslo once a month. Everything else is either bank card (shops), through a mobile app (public transport), or Vipps (money transfer app - paying friends back, market stalls, some shops, etc.).

      3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: I had no idea

        There are some places (Australia? Canada?) that round up or down to eliminate change entirely. If it's x.50 or over, you get an extra dollar back If it's under, you get only the dollar amount, no change. The theory is that it evens out in the end (which it probably does).

        Rounding to the nearest dollar?!

        In Australia we round to 5c for cash transactions, because that is the smallest denomination in our coinage. In Canada it is also 5c.

      4. Rustbucket

        Re: I had no idea

        Nope, in Australia we round up or down to the nearest 5 cents, but that's likely to change to the nearest 10 cents soon as they're talking of getting rid of 5 cent pieces. You only round once for the final total at the till.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: I had no idea

      "... but since it's not actually paper, seems to last for quite a while."

      Our money isn't made out of paper. It's a paper/cotton mix.

      It's just £5 notes get used more often than the £10/£20/£50 notes.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: I had no idea

        "Our money isn't made out of paper. It's a paper/cotton mix."
        Paper:
        "A substance composed of fibres interlaced into a compact web, made (usually in the form of a thin flexible sheet, most commonly white) from various fibrous materials, as linen and cotton rags, straw, wood, certain grasses, etc., which are macerated into a pulp, dried, and pressed (and subjected to various other processes, as bleaching, colouring, sizing, etc., according to the intended use)..."

        IOW your money is (was) definitely made out of paper.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: I had no idea

      US currency doesn't last nearly as long as you think. According to the mint these are the average lifetimes:

      A $1 bill lasts 18 months; $5 bill, two years; $10 bill, three years; $20 bill, four years; and $50 and $100 bills, nine years. Bills that get worn out from everyday use are taken out of circulation and replaced.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Palm Oil

    Well done environmentalists. From one byproduct of an existing industry to a product responsible for widespread deforestation and habitat destruction.

    Nailed it.

    When will these vegan dreadlock toting flip flop wearing tree huggers think of the trees?

    If they would only eat a steak for the B vitamins once in a while they'd think more clearly.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Palm Oil

      "When will these vegan dreadlock toting flip flop wearing tree huggers think of the trees?"
      Or the orangutans!

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Palm Oil

        "When will these vegan dreadlock toting flip flop wearing tree huggers think of the trees?"

        Or the orangutans!

        See my vest, see my vest, see my vest!

  9. James Wilson

    Banks will take fivers for a while

    Asked in the local Barclays yesterday and was told they'll take them for "ages". Apparently they'll still do so for £1 notes!

    1. Kirk Northrop

      Re: Banks will take fivers for a while

      Yeah, the banks really don't care. A lot of the note removal/counterfeit identification happens at privately owned cash handling centres anyway - it just gets sent to one of them with the rest of the cash and spirited away.

    2. CommodorePet

      Re: Banks will take fivers for a while

      Good to know. Got at least one fiver in my drawer here in Los Angeles from previous visits; visiting the UK in July, so was resigned to using them to decorate a pencil box with the useless notes ala Blue Peter.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Interesting New Pound coin fact for Friday

      We've got a gas cooker, so I'll try that and report back next week.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting New Pound coin fact for Friday

        ^ Posts deleted because I am not going to be the one who tests whether heating up a coin and seeing if it still works in a self-service checkout is illegal under the UK Coinage Act or any other Act.

  11. Sir Sham Cad

    Luckily

    Cost of a pint round here is about a fiver so that's convenient.

  12. Mage Silver badge

    £5 note issued in 1957 had a strong purchasing power

    Such irrelevance.

    In 1957 the wages were not very many £5, maybe on average two fivers per week.

    "The average weekly wage was £7.50 – adding up to annual earnings of £390 – and, at £2,000, the average house price was just under five times this figure. Today houses are twice as expensive."

    House prices are high because Governments stopped building council houses maybe 30 years ago. Mortgages are easier to get and a lower percentage deposit is required. From 1870s to 1930 the problem of "slums" was discussed, but after the Luftwaffe did the slum clearance in the 1940s very many houses were built by Government.

    OTH Radio:

    A 50" 4K TV in real terms is not much different in price to a decent 1950s radio. Today you can't actually buy a decent radio, unless it's in the car dashboard or built in to a phone.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: £5 note issued in 1957 had a strong purchasing power

      "The average weekly wage was £7.50"
      Pretty certain my dad didn't earn anything near that. He was a machine-tool engineer on piece-work.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: £5 note issued in 1957 had a strong purchasing power

        Hence the term "average".

      2. Tannin

        Re: £5 note issued in 1957 had a strong purchasing power

        "The average weekly wage was £7.50" - Pretty certain my dad didn't earn anything near that.

        That's presumably because the previous poster committed a gross misuse of the term "average". An "average" is a measure of central tendency. There are many types of "average", but in most instances only one or two useful or correct ones. Luckily, there are some very simple rules to help people choose an appropriate measure for any given task. In the case of wages (as with all skewed distributions), the first-choice average is the median. Only a statiastical ignoramus would use the arithmentic mean.

        (Rare exception: where one is interested in the total wages of all workers, rather than the typical wage of individual workers, the median is inappropriate and the arithmetic mean is the one to use. But in that case, why not just use the total in the first place?)

        In short, your dad probably earned something like £4.50, which was probably around about the average wage at that time.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only Bank of England notes

    Scottish paper notes are still ok, they cease to be legal tender in the near future.

    Let's not have the debate 'but are they legal tender in the first place'

  14. Tannin
    FAIL

    Amazing

    I'm amazed that the UK is only now adopting modern, more durable, currency notes. I suppose you'll be moving on to other exiting new technologies soon, such as the electric light bulb, the flush toilet, and the fountain pen.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Amazing

      "other exiting new technologies soon, such as the electric light bulb, the flush toilet, and the fountain pen."

      Exciting? Existing? or did you mean those are technologies about to be superseded?

      BTW, two of your three examples were invented in the UK and the fountain pen became a popular mass produced item in the UK thanks to a UK invented nib making process.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would argue about their durability, ive seen a lot of frayed and nicked on the edges paper notes, however put a small cut on one of the new plastic notes edges, see how long it lasts.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would you trust her?

    "Sarah Deaves, private banking director at Lloyds Private Banking, told the broadcaster: "The old £5 note issued in 1957 "

    They changed twice since then, from white to wellington to the last paper smaller one, would a Banking Director not need know this?

  17. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
    Pint

    UK-wide average of £3

    I know it's a UK wide average but £3/pint is the lower end of the scale round these parts. PP

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