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Last month to spend your old fivers

The old fiver is going out of official circulation on 5 May

Old style five-pound note to lose legal tender status at the beginning of May

Consumers are being warned that they have less than a month to spend any old-style five pound notes they have.

From Friday 5 May shops will no longer have to accept the old fiver – which features prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

The so-called Fry-fivers have been replaced by a new polymer banknote featuring Sir Winston Churchill. That will be the only Bank of England £5 note with legal tender status.

The Bank of England said more than 50% of “Fry fivers” have already been returned to be destroyed, leaving around 160 million in circulation.

Some banks and building societies may still accept paper £5 notes after May 5, but this is at their own discretion. The Bank of England will continue to exchange the old £5 notes for all time, as it would for any other Bank note which no longer has legal tender status.

The new Bank of England fiver is stronger than its predecessor and boasts new security features making it harder to counterfeit. But it has been controversial as it emerged that traces of animal-derived additives were used in its production.

In September this year, the Bank will issue a new £10 polymer note featuring author Jane Austen, recognising “her universal appeal and enduring contribution to English literature”.