Paper Money

Paper notes replaced by polymer in Northern Ireland

Paper bank notes issued by the Bank of Ireland in £50 and £100 denominations were withdrawn from circulation Sept. 29, replaced by polymer notes.

Images courtesy of Bank of Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s remaining paper bank notes were withdrawn from circulation on Sept. 29. The Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers (ACBI) issued a notice announcing the withdrawal of paper £50 and paper £100 notes issued by the Bank of Ireland UK and Ulster Bank.

This marks a significant milestone in the transition to polymer currency, wrote the ACBI in a press release. Harder to counterfeit and more durable polymer substitutes from Bank of Ireland UK (£5, £10 and £20), Danske Bank (£10 and £20), and Ulster Bank (£5, £10, £20, and £50) started circulating in February 2019.

The ACBI encouraged the public to spend or exchange any Northern Ireland issued paper £50 and £100 notes in advance of the deadline.

Even after Sept. 29, the Northern Ireland banks will continue to accept old paper-based notes and there are no plans to change this. The banks will continue to accept all notes from their own customers. They can be either deposited into bank accounts or exchanged for polymer ones.

Notes in Northern Ireland and Scotland are issued by authorized private banks and are legal currency in the United Kingdom. However, the ACBI points out, they are not legal tender, not even in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In fact, it says, no bank note (including Bank of England notes) qualifies for the term ‘legal tender’ in Scotland or Northern Ireland. “The term legal tender does not in itself govern the acceptability of bank notes in transactions. Whether or not notes have legal tender status, their acceptability as a means of payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved.”

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