The Brand New £20 Polymer Note: Five Facts You Need To Know

07 October 2019

In 2020, the Bank of England will be issuing a brand-new polymer note. Following on from the introduction of £5 polymer and £10 polymer notes, the next note to receive a polymer upgrade is the £20. So, what do you need to know about the new £20 polymer note?

1. When will the current £20 note be withdrawn?

When introducing the £20 polymer note, the Bank of England will commence the process of withdrawing the old paper note, actually made from cotton and linen, from circulation. This process is likely to take 12 months or more; however, the Bank of England will issue the withdrawal date three months in advance of the paper version ceasing to be legal tender.

2. Who’s on the new £20 polymer note?

The new £20 polymer will feature the English Romantic painter, JMW Turner, also known as William Turner. The polymer note will pay tribute to Turner with a version of Turner’s self-portrait, his signature and his famous quote; ‘Light is therefore colour’. It will also feature Turner’s most popular work; The Fighting Temeraire, a tribute to HMS Temeraire.

3. How was the new design chosen?

The £20 note used a new character selection process. The characters chosen are from the UK and have made an important contribution to society and culture. This could be through their leadership, values or innovation. The process does not accept fictional characters, or those still alive apart from the monarch. The Bank of England reviews the characters, and a focus group creates a shortlist. The Governor then makes the final decision.

4. Is this the final note to be converted to polymer?

No, after the £20 polymer note is in full circulation, the next new bill will be a £50 polymer. While the current paper £50 isn’t used routinely, the Bank of England expects to see a significant increase in usage due to the added security benefits of the new polymer note. The polymer should be offered regularly through ATMs too. Another advantage of the new version is that you will be able to fit them in your wallet or purse due to it being a smaller size.

Furthermore, the three Scottish banks and the three Irish banks will be following suit and replacing paper notes with polymer during 2020.

5. Will it affect my current cash counting technology?

If you have a cash counting device from Volumatic, then you will need to update your equipment so that it can accept and count the new £20 note and Scottish and Irish polymer notes. We will send every client a bulletin, explaining the update process. However, you can also contact our helpdesk for any additional support at

If you’d like to find out more about our cash counting technology and how it can save you time and money, please get in touch with our team by calling +44 (0) 2476 684 217.

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