The Plastic Fiver - the New £5 Polymer Note |
new five pound note

The new £5 note

Put your wallets on standby, because a shiny new £5 note was launched on the 13th September 2016. Whilst traditionalists might mourn the loss of the existing one to cries of ‘if it ain’t broke why fix it’, the Bank of England periodically replaces bank notes in order to keep one step ahead of the counterfeiters. 

© Bank of England 2016

new £5 note

The new £5 note

Environmentally friendly

The new note is a thoroughly modern creation, made of recyclable plastic – a thin polymer that’s moisture and dirt resistant and flexible – so no more scrunched up pulpy fivers in your jeans pocket (the fate of 1,801 £5 notes in 2015). The polymer used is environmentally friendly – because it lasts longer (two and a half times longer) fewer notes will have to be made, resulting in less energy being used in both its manufacture and transportation.

Fight the forgers

Only a fraction of a percentage (0.0075% to be exact) of bank notes were found to be counterfeit in 2015 but it always pays to stay ahead of the forgers. So the new £5 note is even harder to fake. New safety features include a see through window with a colour changing border, raised print and both gold and silver foil will be used.

counterfiet £5 note

The gold standard

The first bank notes issued in 1694 were actually receipts given in exchange for gold and you could ask the Bank of England for the note’s equivalent in the precious metal – sadly if you did that now, you’d be very disappointed.

The first ‘proper’ £5 note was launched in 1793, printed on white paper, it was known as the ‘white fiver’. White fivers were removed from circulation in 1961 but they’d co-existed with another £5 note, the ‘series B’, which had been issued earlier in 1957.

Since then, £5 notes have gone through several transformations – series C notes, issued in 1963 were the first to feature a reigning monarch and series D that followed were the first to include historical figures. Series E notes are the ones most of us will be familiar with today, they’ve been tweaked several times, mainly for colour with the last variation issued in 2002.

New money

You’ve got until May 2017 to use your old £5 notes – after that they won’t be accepted by shops, so now’s the time to sift through those pockets and hunt behind the sofa. The Bank of England’s printed £2.2 billion worth of new fivers and if you could do with putting your own coffers away safely, use our comparison service to find or switch a current account or cash ISA to suit your needs. If you’re interested in your borrowing options, then we check out our credit cards or loans comparison pages.

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