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The JMW Turner £20 note enters circulation

The new £20 polymer note featuring artist JMW Turner has become the latest member of the Bank of England’s polymer banknote family.

The note is the Bank of England’s most secure ever, containing a host of sophisticated features to continue their fight against counterfeiting. This an issue that carries added weight for the £20, as it’s been the most commonly forged banknote in each of the past 10 years.

In addition, it retains the series of raised dots in the left-hand corner – a tactile feature developed in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) for the Jane Austen £10 – to make life easier for those who are visually-impaired.

The new note is also the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the Bank’s chief cashier.

“Moving the £20 note to polymer marks a major step forward in our fight against counterfeiting,” she said.

“I am very grateful to everyone across the cash industry who has made this transition possible and I hope the public enjoy using their new Turner £20s.”

The current £20 note is the most commonly circulating banknote in Britain, with two billion of them in the system – that’s double the number of £10 notes in circulation, and far greater than the number of £5 notes (396 million) and £50 notes (344 million).

Vaultex has remained an active member of the Polymer Industry Working Group since the introduction of the Winston Churchill £5 in 2016. We have been in regular contact with the Bank of England throughout the preparative process to ensure the new £20 becomes the latest offering of our industry-leading service.

The current paper £20 – featuring economist Adam Smith – is still eligible to use alongside the new JMW Turner £20. An exact date of its withdrawal as legal tender will be provided by the Bank six months’ in advance of it taking place.

It won’t be long before the polymer banknote family is complete, either. Last year the Bank of England announced Alan Turing as the face of the new £50 note, which will arrive before the end 2021.