(qlmbusinessnews.com Thurs. 6th June, 2024) London, UK —

“Historic Transition: King Charles III Banknotes Now in Use”

New banknotes featuring King Charles III's portrait have officially entered circulation in the United Kingdom. However, it might take some time before they become commonplace in wallets and purses across the country. The Bank of England plans to phase in the new notes gradually, replacing damaged ones or meeting increased demand.

King Charles is only the second monarch to appear on British banknotes, following Queen Elizabeth II, who first featured on them in 1960. Current £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes with the late Queen's portrait remain valid for use.

The design on the reverse side of the current polymer banknotes, featuring historical figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, JMW Turner, and Alan Turing, remains unchanged. Banknotes issued in Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue to feature different images and not the monarch.

The first set of King Charles banknotes were printed last year, with ample time allocated for updating automated cash machines to recognise the new design. The portrait of the King is based on a photograph taken in 2013.

Last year, the highly-secure site where the notes are produced was exclusively showcased to reporters. Recently, King Charles received a complete set of the new notes with the lowest serial numbers, in keeping with the tradition of the monarch receiving the first issues of new currency.

Collectors have shown keen interest, with many seeking banknotes with serial numbers as close to 00001 as possible. The Post Office reported a surge of collectors visiting branches to acquire the new notes.

In London, a queue formed early outside the Bank of England, which offers an exchange service until 11 June, with a daily limit of £300. A postal service with the same limit runs until 30 June, requiring an application form.

Approximately 200 people visited the Bank of England on Wednesday to exchange their notes. Among them was 20-year-old student Sean Brown from Hertfordshire, who travelled to obtain one of the first notes. “I've been collecting coins since I was young, so I wanted to be here for this monumental occasion,” he said.

Despite the introduction of King Charles on banknotes, cash usage is in decline. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey noted the historic significance of the change but affirmed the commitment to providing banknotes as long as the public demands them.

A survey by Link, the UK's cash access and ATM network, revealed that nearly half (48%) of respondents expect a cashless society within their lifetime. However, the same proportion believes this would be problematic, with 71% still relying on cash to some extent.

The consumer association Which? found that 6,000 bank branches had closed over the past nine years, leaving many areas with limited access to cash. Fifty banking hubs, often run by the Post Office, now serve as shared premises where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash.

King Charles British pound

One such hub is in Looe, Cornwall, where the last bank closed 18 months ago. The hub, located behind a café and heritage centre, is a lifeline for local businesses. Debbie Young, the hub manager, said, “People can come to take money out, put money in, deposit cheques, and get change for local businesses.”

Ange Harrison, who manages the coffee shop in front of the hub, emphasised the importance of cash services for the community. “If you don't use it, you are going to lose it,” she said, noting the curiosity about the new banknotes featuring the King.

The Post Office has listed branches where the new notes will be initially available, including locations in Manchester, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Birmingham, and London.

While the transition to banknotes featuring King Charles is gradual, the future of physical currency remains uncertain. The King's image is now featured on coins, stamps, passports, and public buildings, symbolising a new era in British history.

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