You only have until next week to spend your old £5 notes before they become worthless

Elizabeth Fry on a �5 note, replaced by the Churchill polymer �5 note in September 2016. Picture Adr

Elizabeth Fry on a �5 note, replaced by the Churchill polymer �5 note in September 2016. Picture Adrian Judd. - Credit: Archant

British shoppers have until next week to spend - or bank - any old paper five pound notes before they lose their legal tender status.

File photo of the new polymer 5 pound note featuring Sir Winston Churchill. Picture Joe Giddens/PA

File photo of the new polymer 5 pound note featuring Sir Winston Churchill. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

From Friday May 5 shops will no longer have to accept the paper £5 note, featuring Elizabeth Fry, as payment for goods.

More than 50pc of all Fry fivers have already been returned to be destroyed but there are still millions left in circulation.

From next Friday the new polymer note featuring Sir Winston Churchill will be the only £5 note with legal tender status.

Some banks and building societies may still accept the notes but this is at their own discretion. The Bank will continue to exchange the old £5 notes indefinitely, as it would for any other bank note which no longer has legal tender status.


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The new notes were launched in September with Bank of England governor Mark Carney calling them a 'cleaner, stronger and safe' alternative.

However, certain religious groups and animal activists expressed outrage last year after the Bank revealed that the notes were made with tallow – a substance derived from fat and used in candles and soaps.

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Later this year the Bank will issue a new £10 polymer note featuring Jane Austen.

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