The new design for the polymer £20 note has been officially revealed by the Bank of England and we can’t wait to start seeing it in our change next year!

The design features JMW Turner, who was selected from the 29,701 nominations submitted by the public, making him the first British artist to feature on a UK banknote.

But what makes the new £20 note even more special is that is has been described by the Bank of England as the most secure note yet, with two windows and a two-colour foil which makes it difficult to counterfeit.

There are over 2 billion £20 notes in circulation, which makes the £20 note Britain’s most used (and also most forged) banknote.

Britain’s most secure banknote

Special features make the new polymer £20 note more secure, harder to forge and help it to stand out from other notes in circulation:

  • Hologram – the word changes between ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when tilted
  • See-through windows – the foil on the front is blue and gold and the foil on the back is silver. There is also a second, smaller window in the bottom corner
  • Raised dots – there are clusters of raised dots in the top left corner to help visually impaired people identify the note
  • Ultra-violet number – under ultra-violet light the number ’20’ appears in red and green
  • Purple foil patch – a round purple foil patch contains the letter ‘T’
  • Historical character – JMW Turner’s self-portrait circa 1799 can also be seen on display in the Tate Britain
  • Quote – “Light therefore is colour”
  • The Queen’s portrait – printed on the back with “£20 Bank of England” printed twice around the edge

The Design

The bank note will feature Turner’s 1799 self-portrait – an image that currently hangs in the Tate Modern.

In addition, the note also features one of his most recognisable works, The Fighting Temeraire – a tribute to the ship which played a big part in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

A final touch of Turner, the note also includes a quote from the artist, ‘light is therefore colour’ and the signature taken from his will.

2020 polymer £20 note. Credit: Bank of England

Excitingly for collectors though, the new £20 note will be the first to feature the signature of Sarah John – the Bank’s new cashier. So keep an eye out for this when you get your first polymer £20 note!

When can we expect to start seeing the polymer £20 note?

The new £20 note is due to enter circulation on 20 February 2020.

Initially the note will be in circulation alongside the existing paper £20 notes, which will eventually be phased out as we have seen with the paper £5 and £10 notes in the past years.

We are also expecting the new £50 polymer bank note featuring mathematician and second world war codebreaker Alan Turing in 2021.

So, how excited are you about the new £20 polymer note? Let us know in the comments below!


f you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Change Checker Web App Banner 2 Amends 1024x233 1 1024x233 - Your January 2019 Scarcity Index update!

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app

This morning The Bank of England revealed Alan Turing as the new face of the £50 banknote, which will be released into circulation in 2021.

In their search to find an eminent British scientist to feature on the £50 note, a total of 227,299 nominations were sent to The Bank of England. 989 eligible characters were narrowed down to a shortlist of just 12 before Turing was finally selected.

Other candidates included Rosalind Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Ernest Rutherford and Mary Anning to name a few.

The Bank’s chief cashier, Sarah John said, “The strength of the shortlist is testament to the UK’s incredible scientific contribution. The breadth of individuals and achievements reflects the huge range of nominations we received for this note and I would like to thank the public for all their suggestions of scientists we could celebrate.”

£50 banknote concept. Credit: Bank of England

About Alan Turing

Alan Turing is perhaps best known for his outstanding code-breaking which was vital to the Allied victory in WWII.

However, he was also considered a pioneer in computer sciences and the development of the early computer. His work has had an enormous impact on our lives today.

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney said, “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today. As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as [a] war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Sadly, in 1952 he was prosecuted for homosexual acts and died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning. It was determined that his death was an act of suicide.

The new note

Next year the new £20 polymer note will be issued, featuring British Artist, JMW Turner.

This will be the third UK banknote to be made from polymer and will be swiftly followed by the new £50 note in 2021, thus completing the UK’s changeover to plastic banknotes.

These notes are more durable, secure and environmentally friendly than paper notes.

The future of cash

There have been debates in recent years as to whether or not Britain should become a cashless society.

The rise of card and electronic payments means that many see cash as becoming obsolete, with the 1p and 2p coins at the heart of the debate.

In addition to this, the validity of the £50 note has also been questioned, as it is rarely used in everyday payments and is widely thought of as being used by criminals.

The good news for Change Checkers is that the Treasury have confirmed that cash will be around for years to come.

And, with the introduction of the new Alan Turing £50 note in 2021, I think it’s fair to say that cash is still king.


If you’re interested in coin collecting, our Change Checker web app is completely free to use and allows users to:

– Find and identify the coins in their pocket
– Collect and track the coins they have
– Swap their spare coins with other Change Checkers

Time for change? What is the future for 1p and 2p coins?

Sign up today at: www.changechecker.org/app