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King Charles bank notes enter circulation

Banknotes featuring the King’s portrait are being issued from Wednesday, marking the first time that the sovereign has been changed on the Bank of England’s notes.

A portrait of Charles will appear on all four banknotes – the £5, £10, £20 and £50 – with no other alterations to the existing designs.

The new banknotes will co-circulate alongside those featuring Queen Elizabeth II from 5 June, but people may only start to see the new notes appear in their change very gradually.

There are more than 4.6 billion Bank of England notes in circulation, worth about £82 billion.

In line with guidance from the Royal Household to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change, the new notes will only be printed to replace those that are worn, and to meet any overall increase in demand.

While banknotes featuring Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender and there is no need to exchange them, people who are interested to see the new banknotes can now get their hands on them.

Where can you get your hands on a new bank note?

People will first be able to snap up the new-look currency at selected Post Office branches – locations and post codes of which are below – on launch day, with a gradual rollout to thousands of other branches in the coming weeks.

  • Piccadilly Plaza (Manchester), M2 1BB
  • Sunderland City, SR1 1RR
  • Portsmouth, PO1 1AB
  • Birmingham, B2 4AA
  • The City of London, EC2M 5TE
  • Moorgate, EC2M 5TE
  • Broadway, SW1H 0AX
  • Great Massingham, PE31 6HP
  • Tetbury, GL8 8DB
  • Minchinhampton, GL6 9BN
  • Windsor, SL4 1AA
  • Houndsditch, E1 7BS
  • Woodstock, OX20 1SP
  • Poundbury, DT1 3AZ

The chosen Post Offices will initially have £5, £10 and £20 denominations of the new banknotes.

One of the branches where the new banknotes are being made available is situated in Poundbury in Dorset, an area reflecting the King’s architectural principles.

Work started on Charles’s classically inspired extension to the Dorset town of Dorchester in the 1990s, to create an urban quarter of Dorchester where commercial buildings were mixed with residential areas, shops and leisure facilities for a walkable community.

(FILES) Members of the media film bank notes and coins that feature an image of Britain's King Charles III, during a photocall for 'The Future of Money' exhibition, at the Bank of England Museum in the City of London on February 27, 2024. Banknotes bearing the image of King Charles III will appear in British wallets on June 5, 2024, gradually replacing those bearing the portrait of his mother Elizabeth II. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bank notes and coins that feature an image of Britain’s King Charles III are pictured on display during a photocall for ‘The Future of Money’ exhibition, at the Bank of England Museum in the City of London in February (Photo: Daniel Leal / AFP)

Karen Stonham, branch manager at the Portsmouth Post Office, which is also among the initial branches to stock the new notes, said: “Our local customers come into our branch every day to withdraw or deposit cash for their daily needs, so we were excited to be one of the first branches to have the new banknotes available.”

Krishna Thakeria, branch manager at the Broadway Post Office in central London, which is also stocking the new banknotes, said: “The new-look notes hold a special significance for us at Broadway Post Office, given our proximity to Buckingham Palace and the historic Cabinet War Rooms.”

Recent figures from Post Office revealed a significant increase in cash transactions at its branches in April, with cash deposits and withdrawals across counters totalling a record £3.48 billion.

Ross Borkett, banking director at the Post Office, said: “This historic launch of the new banknotes featuring King Charles III comes as we experience the highest levels of cash withdrawals and deposits in Post Office branches.

“We’re pleased to be able to mark this day by giving people the opportunity to withdraw the new notes from our branches.”

How many notes can be obtained?

The Bank of England has put temporary facilities in place to allow people to obtain a limited amount of the King Charles III banknotes.

It has set up a postal exchange service, running from 5 to 30 June, up to a limit of £300 per customer. An application form and further details are on the Bank of England’s website.

The Bank of England counter at Threadneedle Street in central London will also be issuing new notes featuring the King from June 5 to 11 and the same limit of £300 per customer applies.

Has the sovereign been changed on Bank of England notes before?

Although the Bank of England started to produce banknotes in the 17th century, Charles’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was the first British sovereign to be featured when she appeared on a £1 paper note in 1960.

It means this is the first time the sovereign has been changed on Bank of England notes.

The King was presented with the first banknotes bearing his portrait in April. He praised them as “very well designed” and expressed his surprise at being only the second monarch to feature.

(FILES) Bank notes and coins that feature an image of Britain's King Charles III are pictured on display during a photocall for 'The Future of Money' exhibition, at the Bank of England Museum in the City of London on February 27, 2024. Banknotes bearing the image of King Charles III will appear in British wallets on June 5, 2024, gradually replacing those bearing the portrait of his mother Elizabeth II. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bank notes and coins featuring an image of Britain’s King Charles III will be made available from 5 June (Photo: Daniel Leal / AFP)

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said: “We’re very pleased to be issuing the new King Charles banknotes.

“This is a historic moment, as it’s the first time we’ve changed the sovereign on our notes.

“We know that cash is important for many people, and we are committed to providing banknotes for as long as the public demand them. Bringing these new notes into circulation is a demonstration of that commitment.”

Visitors to the Bank of England Museum have been able to catch a first glimpse of the new banknotes, before they entered circulation, in its Future Of Money exhibition.

Graham Mott, director of strategy at ATM and cash access network Link, said: “While more people are paying for things online or using contactless cards, cash use remains popular, with over 70 per cent of adults spending cash at least once a fortnight.

“As King Charles III banknotes begin to enter circulation, they will steadily be available through all cash machines as worn notes are withdrawn.”

A recent survey for Link indicated that nearly half (48 per cent) of people expect to see a cashless society in their lifetime.

But, according to Link’s data, the average UK adult still withdrew around £1,500 from cash machines last year.

In 2023, legislation was passed as part of the Financial Services and Markets Act, to protect access to cash.

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