With just six weeks until the old paper £10 notes are withdrawn from circulation, the Bank of England has published guidance to help small business owners ensure a smooth transition.
Since the “plastic fiver” was introduced in 2016, the Bank of England has been gearing the country for a full shift to polymer banknotes. A new £10 was introduced in September 2017, depicting Jane Austen, and the switch will be completed with a polymer £20 note in 2020.
Polymer bank notes are designed to be more durable than the paper predecessor and are produced with a series of new security features to prevent counterfeiting.
The latest deadline retail business owners need to be aware of is Thursday 1 March 2018, when the paper £10 note will be withdrawn from circulation.
The Bank of England has urged retailers to start preparing for the switch, offering guidance to ensure their business is ready.
Any machines that weigh, count, sort or dispense banknotes need to be checked and will likely require a software update. Hardware upgrades could also be required due to the new banknote size.
Retailers have also been warned to manage customer expectations, and put in place processes if machines have not been upgraded in time.
Bank of England has published online guidance to support staff training on the new polymer notes.
Commenting on the upcoming withdrawal of paper £10 notes, James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), advised business owners to consider what changes may need to be made.
“Retailers need to be aware of the changes that are happening with the new polymer £10 now that the withdrawal date of the paper note is six weeks away. Any retailers who are handling cash need to ensure that they have a plan in place for how they will adapt their cash handling practices,” Lowman said.
“We would encourage retailers to engage with the various materials that the Bank of England has produced to support the transition from paper to polymer.”
Retailers are not legally required to accept the old £10 note after 1 March, but if they choose to at their own discretion, the Bank of England will always exchange old-series notes.
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