The £20 note will soon change from the old paper design into a modernised polymer version, set for release in 2020.

The move comes after a shake up to UK currency in recent years following the adaptation of the £5 and £10 notes in the same manner, as well as the changes made to the £1 coin in March 2018. The polymer design is far more difficult to counterfeit and will stay in general circulation for longer, reducing replacement costs.

However, although British companies should be accustomed to a change in note by now, there’s still a few preparatory measures you can undertake – especially if you offer electronic cash handling machines.


The updated note will see a change in design also. Replacing the renowned economist Adam Smith will be a self-portrait of English painter Joseph Turner, completed near to the end of the 18th century.

Complementing this is one of Turner’s most famous works, the Fighting Temeraire. It pays homage to the HMS Temeraire, one of the most famous ships in Britain around this period due to it’s distinguished role in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.


Underneath is a quote taken from a Turner lecture in 1818 – “Light is therefore colour” – chosen to reflect the expressive colourisation used in his famous landscape works. Finally, an authentic signature taken from Turner’s Will – in which he left many of his paintings as a gift to the nation – is also displayed underneath.


Money notes cash New £20 note coming soon


Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney expanded on why the Advisory Committee chose Turner out of 590 potential candidates:


“I am delighted to announce that JMW Turner has been chosen to appear on the next £20 note. Turner is perhaps the single most influential British artist of all time. His work was transformative for the art world, spanning his lifetime and well beyond.”

Business Considerations

Preparing for the new £20 shouldn’t be too difficult for most companies, although those that operate cash handling machines will need to update their technology.

For example, if you offer self-service check-outs, vending machines or ATMs then you’ll need to contact your supplier before the 2020 date draws nearer. Enquire what adaptations will be needed, along with the expected cost and timeframe any modifications will take to complete.

Modern machines that are programmed to recognise notes digitally will almost certainly require a software update as well. This is because the new £20 is reducing in size, from 149mm x 80mm down to 139mm x 73mm, and includes sophisticated new security features.

there will be a phasing out period as with the five and ten notes

For businesses that deal in cash, there will be a transition period when the new polymer note is released, just as there was with the £5 and £10. During this time, you will still need to accept the old note as it is gradually phased out from circulation. All the amassed old £20 notes then need to be exchanged at your local high street bank.   

If you need any information on how your company may need to adapt to the new £20 banknote, please feel free to get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to assist.