Updated on 10 June 2015.
Did you know that it's illegal to use counterfeit money?
Of course, fake notes and coins probably pass through your hands on a regular basis without anyone noticing; but crucially the law means that you won't be reimbursed if the notes or coins you try to pay with get rejected.
If this happens you'll be left with cash you can't spend or trade in - even if you received the money from a bank originally. Your only real option is to hand it in to the police and stomach the loss.
Importantly, you have the right to request alternative payment if you suspect the money offered is actually illegal tender.
This means you need to protect yourself by understanding how to spot fake money before you walk out the shop door.
£20 notes which feature the image of composer, Sir Edward Elgar, are no longer be legal tender, however most banks, building societies and the Post Office will still allow you to deposit them in your account or use them for other transactions for the next few months. However, exchanging your Elgars for Smiths is entirely at the discretion of your bank or building society.
You can also exchange your Elgars at face value directly with the Bank of England. This can either be done in person or by sending your money to their headquarters on Threadneedle Street in London. Of course, sending your money via post or courier is done entirely at your own risk.
If you give your notes and coins a quick once-over before pocketing them, you may be able to spot a fake and save yourself a headache.
Written by Bill at money.co.uk
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