Are you ready for the new £20?

On the 20th February, the new polymer £20 note will begin to appear in ATMs and tills across the UK. It is printed on polymer, features the artist JMW Turner on the reverse but retains the distinctive £20 purple colour. Retailers and anyone who regularly handles cash should make sure they know what to expect before 20 February 2020.

It is the most secure banknote yet with sophisticated security features making it difficult to counterfeit but simple and quick to check:

  • See through windows – Look at the metallic image over the main window. Margate Lighthouse appears in gold foil with the Turner Contemporary gallery in blue and the foils are silver on the back.
  • There is another small see-through window in the bottom corner of the note.
  • Hologram image – The metallic patch under the main window contains the word ‘Twenty’. This changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted from side to side.

The note also features:

  • JMW Turner’s self-portrait, painted c. 1799 and currently on display in Tate Britain.
  • 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. The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery.
  • The Queen’s portrait in the see-through window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.
  • 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 the Tate Britain.
  • A quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to the innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone in his pictures.
  • Turner’s signature from his Will, the document with which he bequeathed many of his paintings to the nation.

The new £20 note will be the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the Bank’s Chief Cashier. She said: “The new £20 is an important part of our commitment to providing banknotes that people can use with confidence. Our polymer notes are much harder to counterfeit and, with the £20 being our most common note, this marks a big step forward in our fight against counterfeiting. I hope the public will look forward to spending their new Turner £20s from February.”

Paper £20 notes, featuring Adam Smith, will remain legal tender and should be spent and accepted as usual. These notes will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked. Notice will be given six months ahead of legal tender status being withdrawn.

Explore the security features here: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/polymer-20-pound-note