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Recently (from 1st October 2022), the old 20 and 50 GBP bank notes are not valid anymore.

From what I understood, it is possible to exchange them (among others) at some specific post offices, for the corresponding new bank notes. However, in order to do this, besides an identification document (e.g. passport), a "proof of address" is also required.

Obviously, a tourist, who is not resident in the UK does not have such document (unless the equivalent document in his home country is also accepted -- which I doubt; or maybe the hotel where he is staying could issue such certificate, because that's his "address" in the UK?)

TL;DR: Can a tourist go to one of the special post offices, and exchange old 20 and 50 Pound notes? Does he need a proof of address to do so? If yes, how can he get one?

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  • Please see the Post Office web page Exchange withdrawn banknotes. Oct 22, 2022 at 22:14
  • "...you can swap up to £300 every two years". Sadly, some unscrupulous banks and money changers will dump their obsolete UK bank notes on unsuspecting customers who withdraw or exchange hard currency. Then when they arrive they find no-one will take their money. Oct 22, 2022 at 22:17
  • There is a more detailed description of the process at the Bank of England website: bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/exchanging-old-banknotes
    – JakeDot
    Oct 23, 2022 at 7:45
  • If they are in good condition, it would be worth a web search for an estimate of value. Some older notes are worth more than face value to collectors.
    – WGroleau
    Oct 23, 2022 at 21:17

4 Answers 4

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I tried last week in the Edinburgh City Post Office, and they exchanged the old notes without even asking for the passport or recording any data.

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I suspect the only definitive answers will come from experience, that said when I look at the post office and bank of england sites ( https://www.postoffice.co.uk/banknote-exchange and https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/exchanging-old-banknotes ) I make the following observations.

I don't see any mention of "proof of address" on the post office site and on the bank of England site proof of address is only mentioned in relation to exchanges directly with the bank of England, not to exchanges at the post office.

That said, if one looks at the list of accepted "proof of address", some of them are official government documents, but many are not. Bank statements, credit card bills. There does not seem to be any stipulation that the address or the bank have to be in the UK.

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Some post offices are within other shops. My local corner shop (in Surrey, UK) includes a post office counter. They have a notice about exchange of old paper notes. I do not recall the full details, but in part it says that they will accept paper money but only to pay into a bank account (*). It also says that to exchange old notes for new requires paying into a bank accound plus a cash withdrawel from a bank account.

If you do not have a UK bank account then I would recommend finding a main post office, not a post office counter within another shop.

(*) Post offices now allow payments into and withdrawels from bank accounts. This facility appears to have been introduced at the same time as many high street bank branches have closed.

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I am in the United States. Chase bank took expired notes and exchanged them for no hassle. I am answering this in case you are in the United States planning to travel to the UK. We found several pound banknotes in my mother-in-law's personal effects which we gave to a friend while we in the UK for her funeral as we had no idea what to do. Stores refused the bills and looked horrified, but they also wanted contactless payment because of Covid (even though Covid is mostly transmitted via airborne droplets.) But then when we found additional expired notes, Chase accepted them.

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