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Cash is king as Charles notes get printed

The Bank of England has begun printing the first banknotes featuring King Charles III, though they will not be in circulation until the middle of next year.

The King’s portrait will appear on existing designs on all four polymer banknotes, £5, £10, £20 and £50.

His image will appear on the front, as well as in cameo in the see-through security window. 

The reverse side of current Bank of England banknotes, which in ascending order feature Sir Winston Churchill (£5), Jane Austen (£10), JMW Turner (£20) and Alan Turing (£50), will be unchanged.

All polymer banknotes carrying a portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender, and the public can continue to use these as normal.

In line with guidance from the Royal Household, to minimise the environmental and financial impact of this change, new notes will only be printed to replace worn banknotes and to meet any overall increase in demand for banknotes.

Freshly printed banknotes

The delay in issuing them to general circulation is because of machines such as self-service tills will have to be adapted to recognise the new image.

There are a record number of banknotes in circulation even though cash use has become far less frequent as consumers switch to debit cards and digital payments. The increase in the amount that can be paid by card has meant most day-to-day transactions can be undertaken without cash and many establishments will no longer accept cash.

Sarah John, chief cashier at the Bank of England, whose name appears on the new notes, said: “There are still a lot of people who rely on cash for their day-to-day spending. It might not be obvious to everyone, but it is still really important that they have cash available when they really need it.”

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