The Bank of England has announced that it will be withdrawing the £20 and £50 notes after September 2022, but Nigeria’s commercial bank, WEMA, has given its customers a January 2022 deadline to deposit.
A statement posted on the bank’s website encouraged individuals who have the notes to spend or deposit them at banks or post offices.
“The Bank of England will be withdrawing legal tender status of the paper £20 and £50 notes after 30 September 2022, and we are encouraging anyone who has these at home to spend or deposit them at their bank or Post Office,” the statement announced.
But WEMA Bank, in a message to its customers, stated, “Please be informed that from January 1, 2022, the Bank of England will withdraw the paper £50 and £20 notes from circulation. This implies that from January 1, 2022, we will stop accepting those notes in all our branches nationwide.
“We advise you to deposit all £50 and £20 paper notes in your possession before the deadline of December 31, 2021, to avoid losing the value of your money.”
The UK central bank noted that the £20 and £50 notes in circulation are worth £9 billion and £15 billion respectively and would be replaced with polymer-type new notes featuring artist J.M.W Turner and scientist Alan Turing.
According to the bank, the notes are being changed from paper to polymer to make them harder to counterfeit and more durable.
“In recent years, we have been changing our banknotes from paper to polymer because this makes them more difficult to counterfeit and means they are more durable. The polymer £20 featuring the artist J.M.W. Turner, and the polymer £50 featuring the scientist Alan Turing are now in wide circulation, and we are in the process of withdrawing their paper equivalents. So we want to remind the public that they have one year from today to spend their paper banknotes,” Sarah John, the bank’s chief cashier, said.
With the release of the new polymer £20 on February 20, 2020, and the polymer £50 note released on June 23, 2021, Ms John said the UK’s first polymer series was now complete.
Polymer banknotes provide for a new generation of security features, making them even more difficult to counterfeit.
The notes are also more resistant to dirt and moisture, allowing them to last longer. These notes also have haptic elements that make them accessible to the blind and partially sighted.