The old-style £50 note which features a portrait of Sir John Houblon, the first governor of the Bank of England, is to be withdrawn from circulation on Wednesday 30th April.
As a result, from 1st May, shops are unlikely to accept this note as payment. The new-style notes featuring portraits of Matthew Boulton and James Watt that were introduced in 2011 will still be legal tender.
The only problem is that the Bank of England estimates that there are still 53 million of the old-style notes in circulation which equates to £2.65bn. This large number is explained by the surge in demand for £50 notes during the financial crisis at the turn of the decade.
For the next few months, most banks will accept these notes for deposit into customer accounts. However, agreeing to exchange notes is at the discretion of individual institutions. Only Barclays, RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank and the Post Office have agreed to exchange the old-style £50 notes, for up to £200 in value, at their branch counters for both customers and non-customers until 30th October 2014.
To comply with anti-money laundering regulations, you may be required to provide identification, such as a passport or driving licence, when exchanging your notes.
Ultimately, the Bank of England will always exchange its old-series notes at their premises on Threadneedle Street in the City of London.
If you are not sure which style of £50 notes that you have, please visit http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/Documents/houblon50a4poster_gb.pdf to see a specimen.