News Article

How to spot a fake £5 note

Published 19 July 2016 by

We’ve all been there. The second you put your jeans in the wash and the first drop of detergent hits them, you remember you’ve left your change from the pub in your back pocket. Again.

Well, good news! The days when you had to drag soggy notes from your clothing, dry them on the radiator and hand them over – crispy but clean – in the local shop, are on their way out.

That’s because from September The Bank of England is introducing new plastic notes – starting with fivers.

Spot the difference

There are a number of visible differences with the new five pound notes, including the fact they feature Winston Churchill and are smaller than the current ones.

They’re also made from a kind of plastic called polymer, so they’re more durable. In fact, you can screw them up and they’ll just spring back into their normal shape. And word has it, while the Bank of England was running checks on their durability, they even put them in the oven – though we wouldn’t recommend doing this!

So they’ll look different, they’ll feel different – how will you know if they’re the real deal or not?

Legit or counterfeit?

Ahead of the plastic fivers’ introduction in September, the Bank of England has issued guidance for spotting when one is real or not. Follow the tips to make sure you don’t end up with a phoney fiver.

Here’s the basic rundown on how you can spot a real plastic £5 note.

1. Look for Liz – you should see a picture of the Queen when you look through the window on a real fiver.

2. The image of Big Ben appears in gold on the front of the note and silver on the back.

3. The foil patch underneath the window will change from ‘Five’ to ‘Pounds’ when you tilt it in your hand.

4. The crown appears in 3D.

5. The number ‘5’ appears on the front of the note when you look at it under an ultraviolet light.

6. The green foil patch on the back of the note reads ‘BLENHEIM’.

Out with the old, in with the new

Last year alone, the Bank of England dealt with 240k counterfeit notes. That’s why they’ve worked really hard to make it as difficult as possible for criminals to reproduce the new plastic notes.

The new fivers will be introduced on 13th September. Don’t worry – there’s no mad rush to get rid of the current five pound notes. You’ll be able to use the current paper versions of the note until they are withdrawn in May 2017.

Plastic £10 notes will come into circulation next year and we’ll even see plastic £20 notes by 2020.

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