All you need to know about the new polymer £20 note


20 February 2020
The UK's new polymer £20 note has entered circulation and has been described as 'the most secure Bank of England banknote yet.' Find out more, including how to interact with the note on Snapchat, with this special guide…

The new £20 note was launched at Tate Britain, which houses the Turner Bequest, a collection of 300 oil paintings and many thousands of sketches and watercolours.

What is on the new £20 note?

The note features Turner’s self-portrait, painted c.1799, which is currently on display at Tate Britain alongside the banknote. Other features on the new note include:

  • A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicting Margate lighthouse and Turner Contemporary. The shape of the large window is based on the shape of the fountains in Trafalgar Square. 
  • A smaller see-through window in the bottom corner of the note, inspired by Tintern Abbey. 
  • One of Turner’s most eminent paintings The Fighting Temeraire; a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. 
  • A metallic hologram which changes between the word ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.
  • The Queen’s portrait in the see-through window.
  • A silver foil patch with a 3D image of the coronation crown. 
  • A purple foil patch containing the letter ‘T’ and based on the staircase at Tate Britain.
  • A quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner.
  • Turner’s signature from his Will, on which he bequeathed many of his paintings to the nation.

The note is the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the Bank’s current Chief Cashier. It will join the Churchill £5 and the Austen £10 in the first series of polymer notes. A new polymer £50 featuring Alan Turing will be issued next year.

When will we start seeing the new £20 note in circulation? 

The note will start appearing in ATMs and tills throughout the country and a Bank of England statement said: 'we expect half of all ATMs across the UK to be dispensing polymer £20s two weeks after issue.'

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What about the paper £20 notes?

You can still use the paper £20 note until it is withdrawn from circulation.

The Bank of England will give 6 months’ notice ahead of legal tender status being withdrawn. Even when the notes are withdrawn many banks will accept withdrawn notes as deposits from customers, and the Bank of England will exchange old notes for new.

You can see the new £20 note come to life with Snapchat…

To bring the new note to life, the Bank of England has worked with Snapchat to develop a lens which allows the public to see their cash in a new dimension through augmented reality.

All you need is a new £20 and a phone.

  1. Open the Snapchat app and point the camera at the 'Snapcode' image above
  2. Press and hold on the Snapcode to unlock the AR Lens
  3. Once unlocked, hover over the note or an image of the new £20
  4. Watch as it transforms the note into a live piece of artwork
  5. Take a snap and share it

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