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The new £5 note – what you need to know

By 15th September 2016October 6th, 2021DMA LAW TEAM

The new £5 note came in to circulation as of 13th September 2016, and the old one will soon cease to be legal tender. No need to panic, though – you don’t need to rush out immediately and get rid of your old five pound notes!

DMA Law’s Gavin Lucas looks at the new note – which, if you’ve been lucky enough to see one, you’ll know bears the image of Sir Winston Churchill – and explains everything you need to know about the new ‘fiver’.

The note itself

The new £5 note will be 15% smaller than the paper notes.

The new £5 note is made of polymer (plastic) and replaces the old paper note.  The Bank of England says this is because a polymer note will be cleaner, safer and stronger.

  • Cleaner – The Bank of England will have to print less of them compared to paper notes and so the energy output to the environment is less and at the end of its shelf life it can be recycled in to plastic again.
  • Safer – The new note has a number of new security features to make it harder to counterfeit.
  1. A see through window which has an image of the Queen on and the words “£5 Bank of England”
  2. The edge of that window has a coloured border which changes colour from purple to green when you tilt the note
  3. A detailed image of the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) in the window is coloured gold on the front of the note and silver on the back
  4. On the front of the note there is a silver foil hologram that changes from the word “five” to the word “pounds”
  5. There is a 3D image of the coronation crown which displays a rainbow effect when the note is tilted
  6. On the back of the note there is a green foil that contains the word “Blenheim”
  7. Under ultraviolet light the front of the note will display a number “5” in bright red and green
  • Stronger – The new note is said to be 2.5 times stronger than the old paper note and able to withstand being repeatedly folded or scrunched up and is supposed to be very difficult to tear. It is expected to last 5 years longer than the paper note. The thinking behind making the new note stronger is because over 21,000 paper notes had to be reprinted last year due to damage.

Have a look at the attached image below to see the difference in size and some of the new security features…..


The new £5 note came in to circulation on 13th September 2016. You do not have to do anything at all.