ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Chart of the week: Banknotes

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 07 Jun 2024

Our chart this week celebrates the launch of King Charles III banknotes by looking at the number and value of Bank of England banknotes in circulation, highlighting the continued popularity of the £20 note.
chart 5 june

Our chart this week is in honour of the new King Charles III banknotes that have just started to enter circulation. These will match the design of the existing Sir Winston Churchill £5 notes, Jane Austen £10 notes, JMW Turner £20 notes, and Alan Turing £50 notes, but with the King’s image replacing that of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

As our chart illustrates, the Bank of England reports that there were £82.4bn of its banknotes in circulation on 29 February 2024, comprising 384m £5 notes worth £1.9bn, 1,277m £10 notes worth £12.8bn, 2,646m £20 notes worth £52.9bn, and 295m £50 notes worth £14.8bn. 

The chart excludes £4.6bn in high value notes issued to Scottish and Northern Irish banks that in turn print their own banknotes.

The new King Charles III banknotes (or ‘Charlies’ as they may come to be called) were issued for the first time on 5 June 2024 in relatively small numbers. The Bank of England says that they are only going to put them into circulation as old banknotes wear out or to meet demand, which could take a long time given that polymer banknotes are much more hardwearing than old paper banknotes.

On average there are approximately 6 x £5, 20 x £10, 40 x £20 and 4 x £50 in circulation for each person living in the UK. Although many of these will be sitting in cash registers and bank vaults, there are still a large number sitting in drawers or down the back of sofas, or even – perhaps surprisingly in today’s ‘cashless’ world – in wallets and purses.

Of course, these are not the only currencies that will feature the King, with Canada recently announcing that Charles’ image will feature on the next Canadian $20, with New Zealand expected to follow in due course. However, Australia has decided to not to put the King on the next Australian $5, the last remaining Australian banknote to still retain an image of the late Queen.

Fortunately, Bank of England banknotes remain exchangeable forever, so if you damage any of your existing banknotes, you can always just pop down to Threadneedle Street to ask for a replacement. Although probably not immediately, as the queues for the new Charlies are likely to be quite long.

Read more on the Bank of England website.

Latest charts

Recommended content

ICAEW Community
Public Sector polaroid
Public Sector Community

The go-to place for guidance on issues affecting finance professionals working in and with the public sector. With a range of dynamic services, ICAEW provides valuable tools, resources and support tailored to the public sector.

World map
More economic insight

ICAEW works with Oxford Economics to provide useful insight and timely intelligence for finance professionals and their clients.

Read more
Gas-fired power station and factory building at night.
Energy crisis hub

Analysis of how supply difficulties, rising electricity prices and sanctions against Russia are contributing to turmoil in energy markets. Find out what business can do to lessen the impact.

Find out more
Open AddCPD icon

Add Verified CPD Activity

Introducing AddCPD, a new way to record your CPD activities!

Log in to start using the AddCPD tool. Available only to ICAEW members.

Add this page to your CPD activity

Step 1 of 3
Download recorded
Download not recorded

Please download the related document if you wish to add this activity to your record

What time are you claiming for this activity?
Mandatory fields

Add this page to your CPD activity

Step 2 of 3
Mandatory field

Add activity to my record

Step 3 of 3
Mandatory field

Activity added

An error has occurred
Please try again

If the problem persists please contact our helpline on +44 (0)1908 248 250