There is just a week left to spend or bank your old paper fivers

Get rid of your paper notes
Get rid of your paper notes

People have just a week left to spend or bank the 155 million paper Bank of England fivers still in circulation before they lose their legal tender status.

Friday May 5 marks the last day that the banknote featuring prison reformer Elizabeth Fry will be legal tender.

People will be able to spend the "Fry fivers" in shops until the end of the day on Friday next week.

After that, the new polymer banknote featuring Sir Winston Churchill will be the only Bank of England £5 note with legal tender status.

Some banks and building societies may still accept paper £5 notes after May 5, but this is at their own discretion.

The Bank of England will continue to exchange the old £5 notes for all time, as it would for any other Bank note which no longer has legal tender status.

The old paper fiver and the new £5 note have co-existed since the polymer banknote was first issued by the Bank in September 2016.

The new Bank of England fiver is stronger than its predecessor and boasts new security features making it harder to counterfeit.

But it has been controversial as it emerged that traces of animal-derived additives were used in its production.

A public consultation has been launched by the Bank into how it produces new £20 polymer notes.

The Bank previously said it has held off signing supply contracts for the £20 polymer note, which is due to be released in 2020, in order to better understand "the range of public opinion" surrounding the use of tallow in banknote production and explore potential plant-based substitutes such as palm and coconut oil.

In September this year, the Bank will issue a new £10 polymer note featuring author Jane Austen, recognising "her universal appeal and enduring contribution to English literature".

A spokesman for the Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers, which represents Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, said previously: "The paper Scottish fivers are not being withdrawn from circulation, they are just not being reissued.

"They don't have a withdrawal date as such similar to the English £5 notes."