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10 Jan 2022

Know your Scottish Polymer £50 notes

This letter from the National Crime Agency relates to the counterfeiting of Polymer Scottish £50 notes and accompanies the Know your Scottish Polymer £50 notes – Information for Retailers

As a consequence of the introduction of the Polymer series of Scottish Banknotes to replace the older paper series of issued notes the levels (quantities) of counterfeit Scottish Banknotes in circulation has been significantly reduced.

Counterfeit Polymer Bank of Scotland £50 notes are now being seen in circulation.

No counterfeit Polymer Royal Bank of Scotland £50 notes have been seen in circulation to date (however this may change and as such it is important you check notes you receive using the guidance in the attached Know your Scottish Polymer £50 notes document and via the website link)

At present, the passing of these counterfeit Scottish £50 notes seem to be occurring principally in England, with some now being seen in Northern Ireland.

In order to assist retailers in determining whether the Polymer Scottish £50 notes they receive as payment are genuine, the ACBI following consultation with the UKNCO has produced the document Know your Scottish Polymer £50 notes (in PDF format) that accompanies this letter.

This document highlights the key significant features in the two notes: Colour Changing Ink (BoS only), Window(s), Holographic Foil and Raised print (name of Bank)

The counterfeit notes can be readily recognised by checking these Four features when the notes are passed to you or during subsequent checks. It is however important that you do not focus on just one security feature (see below re deceptive holograms)

The counterfeit notes currently seen in circulation do not feature colour changing ink from purple to Gold they are just a fixed colour.

There are some more deceptive counterfeit(s) in circulation which feature simulations of the holographic foil and as such it is important that the other features are checked as well – not just the silver holographic foil

Some counterfeit polymer Bank of Scotland £50 notes may include a deceptive silver hologram, however, other checks will enable these to be identified: Windows, does the building have multiple clear windows? Can you see through the diagonal cross in the lower section of the hologram? Colour changing ink (not simulated just one fixed colour in the counterfeits)

For further information about other security features in the polymer £50s see the link below the image of each note. At the end of the document, there is a link to information about security features in all Scottish & Northern Irish banknotes.

In the event that your business utilises Ultra Violet (UV) security light(s) to check the banknotes please note the additional information below.
Both Genuine Polymer Scottish £50 notes feature; a Vertical Serial number which changes colour under UV light.

They both feature two colours (‘Gemini’) sections/images under UV light. (see website/links for further details)

The UV images include

  • Bank of Scotland – ‘Orange’ & ‘Green’ thistles – Front of the note
  • Royal Bank of Scotland – ‘Orange’ & ‘Yellow’ Birds – Rear of note

Genuine Polymer Scottish £50 notes DO NOT UTILISE £ or £50 image as seen under UV

Counterfeits Polymer Scottish £50s MAY FEATURE £ or £50 images under UV light.

The passing (or tendering) of counterfeit currency is a crime and should be reported to your Local Police and Not Action Fraud

The Police will require the counterfeit note(s) together with any other relevant evidence/information for example; CCTV of suspects, details of the vehicle they were using etc.

The Scottish Issuers have confirmed that both the paper £20 & £50 notes will be removed from circulation on 30th September 2022

View further information about the Scottish Polymer £50 notes here


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