Tax & admin · 14 November 2017

Deadline for spending old £10 notes announced (and how to spot a fake)

The new polymer £10 note was introduced with a line of security features to prevent counterfeiting
The new polymer £10 note was introduced with a line of security features to prevent counterfeiting

After 17 years in circulation, old paper £10 notes featuring the face of Charles Darwin must be spent or exchanged by Thursday 1 March 2018, the Bank of England has confirmed.

Having introduced the new polymer £10 notes, depicting the face of author Jane Austen, on 14 September 2017, business owners have now been given a deadline for which the old note will cease to be legal tender.

The Darwin note was first issued on 7 November 2000, but questions around durability and the ease of which it could be faked led to the introduction of a plastic polymer design.

However, leftover old £10 notes will still be accepted for exchange by the Bank of England after March 2018, and by the discretion of banks and building societies.

After the polymer edition entered circulation, the Bank of England published guidance on its security features to help business owners spot a fake.

How to spot a fraudulent polymer £10 note

  1. See-through window 

The Queen’s portrait should be clearly see-through, with the words “£10 Bank of England” printed twice around the edge 

  1. Foil patches

Below the see-through window is a silver foil patch. When titled, the word “Ten” changes to “Pounds”. Above the window is a 3D coronation crown which turns multi-coloured when tilted. 

  1. Raised print

Due to the note’s thin plastic material, raised print can be felt by running your finger along the words “Bank of England”, in the bottom right corner and around the number ten.

  1. Print quality 

The printed lines and colours on the note are sharp and clear, without any smudges or blurred edges. 

  1. Micro lettering 

The value of the note can be seen underneath the Queen’s portrait by using a magnifying glass.

  1. Ultra-violet feature

Using a good quality ultra-violet light, you can see the number ten appear in bright red and green, while the background remains dark.

Further staff training material has been offered to business owners via the Bank of England website. 

The Bank of England has claimed the new note is two-and-a-half times stronger than the paper version, and its robust security features make it the first banknote to incorporate so-called “tactile information”, helping partially-sighted and blind people assess its value.

Bank of England launches banknote checking scheme for counterfeits

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

Tax & admin