The first £5 bank note was issued in 1793 in response to the need for smaller banknotes to replace gold coins during the French Gold Wars. (Previously, the smallest note issued was £10.) The 1793 design, last known as the “White Fiver”, remained essentially unchanged until February 21, 1957, when the multicolored (though mostly dark blue) note “B Series” depicting the helmeted Britannia was introduced. The former “White Five” was retired from service on March 13, 1961.  What is classified as legal tender varies from one Member State to another in the United Kingdom. In England and Wales, these are coins from the Royal Mint and banknotes from the Bank of England. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, these are only Royal Mint coins and not banknotes. During Montagu Norman`s term as governor from 1920 to 1944, the bank made deliberate efforts to move away from commercial banking and become a central bank. In 1946, shortly after Norman`s term ended, the bank was nationalized by the Labour government. As a regulator and central bank, the Bank of England has not provided banking services to consumers for many years, but still manages some publicly available services such as the exchange of replaced banknotes.  Until 2016, the bank offered personal banking as a privilege for employees.  Learn how to exchange old banknotes that have been withdrawn.
Although Scottish banknotes are not legal tender, they are legal tender. This means that it is perfectly legal to pay anything with them, but a creditor can legally reject them as payment of a debt. According to the law, legal tender is the only type of payment that a creditor must accept when offered as payment, although he has the discretion to accept it if he wishes. The first £1 note of the Bank of England was issued on 2 March 1797 under the direction of Thomas Raikes, Governor of the Bank of England, and in accordance with the orders of the government of William Pitt the Younger, in response to the need for smaller banknotes to replace gold coins during the French Revolutionary Wars. The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks are based. It was founded in 1694 to act as a banker of the English government, and is still one of the bankers of the United Kingdom government, and is the eighth oldest bank in the world. It was privately owned by shareholders from its inception in 1694 until its nationalization in 1946 by the Attlee Ministry.   Another form of payment that is not legal tender is cryptocurrency.
With the rise of online shopping, there has been a demand for alternative payment methods, and cryptocurrency is becoming more and more popular. However, it is not even capable of being considered legal tender in the majority of the world, and it will probably take many years for the possibility to arise. In our Tickets section you will find information on the exchange of withdrawn banknotes, Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes and other topics. The Bank Charter Act 1844 linked the issuance of banknotes to gold reserves and gave the bank the exclusive right to issue banknotes in England. Private banks that previously had this right retained it, provided that their head office was outside London and that they deposited collateral for the notes they issued. Some English banks continued to issue their own banknotes until the last of them was taken over in the 1930s. Private banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland still have this right. There are other forms of currency, although they are also not legal tender. With the passage of the Bank Notes Act 1833, banknotes over £5 were first given “legal tender” status in England and Wales, thus guaranteeing the value of banknotes and ensuring public confidence in banknotes in times of crisis or war.  The Currency and Banknotes Act 1954 extended the definition of legal tender to 10/ – and £1 banknotes; Unlike the 1833 Act, this Act also applied to Scotland, meaning that BOE banknotes were classified as legal tender under £5.
Due to inflation, the Bank of England`s 10/ note was withdrawn in 1969 and £1-1 was withdrawn from circulation in 1988, leaving a legal oddity in Scottish law that there is no longer any legal tender paper in Scotland.  (Scottish notes were not included in the Acts of 1833 or 1954.) A limited number of post offices in the UK will exchange withdrawn paper notes, or withdrawn notes can be exchanged with the Bank of England, including by post. Many common and secure payment methods such as checks, debit cards and contactless are not legal tender.
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