Nerdy Note Discussion: Scottish Bank Notes Aren’t Legal Tender...

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Former_MSE_LawrenceFormer_MSE_Lawrence ResearcherFormer MSE
975 Posts
Scottish Bank Notes Aren’t Legal Tender... not even in Scotland!

Bank of England notes are, but only in England and Wales. In fact there are no legal tender notes in Scotland. Yet that doesn’t mean they can’t be used in transactions. Legal tender technically just means that by law it cannot be refused in settlement of debt.
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Don’t worry! Scottish notes are perfectly acceptable in the UK… they’re just not legal tender

As quite a few Scottish MoneySAvers are worried some people will only read the headlines & think this means they shouldn’t be accepted in English shops. Let me clarify… legal tender just means it must be accepted when offered in settlement of court enforced debts.

While not legal tender, Scottish notes are a legal currency defined by the UK parliament and perfectly acceptable for transactions across the UK… (though as with any note a shop is within its right to refuse to take it and not sell the goods).

A note on this will go in the e-mail next week...


  • How is it that then BT will not accept Bank of England notes as payment of their bills in England and in addition have the gall to charge you if you don't want to allow themselves the opportunity to help themselves to the money in your bank account by direct debit.
  • AHARAHAR Forumite
    984 Posts
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    Are any Scottish £1 notes still in circulation? I know they were still around after the Bank of England ones were withdrawn as my Aunt who lives in Cumbria used to send me 3 Scottish £1 notes on my birthday when I was young.:D
    As I remember, a fair proportion of £1 notes used to be held together with sellotape!

    Has anyone had trouble using Scottish notes in England?
  • ronnie_2ronnie_2 Forumite
    385 Posts
    Dont think quid notes are around any more, not had one in my change for ages.

    I have bother all the time when I am in England trying to use a Scottish note, last time I was buying petrol the girl told me they would not accept my £30

    Needless to say I left the cash on the counter and walked off, she had no choice then.
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  • lewistlewist Forumite
    5 Posts
    As I recall, there is a history to this. There are international treaties on banknotes giving guarantees on currency. As I understand it, at the time these were drawn up, no Scottish bank had ever gone bust, and Scottish currency was regarded as totally reliable, so we were not included, simply because there was no need. Thus we expect our currency to be accepted without question at home and abroad.

    The Northern Rock business is a bit galling for us, as it has been billed as a British bank.

    There are still £1 notes in circulation, or there were a couple of months ago. I got one in my change.
  • Met a someone at a party years ago, who worked for the Bank of England and told me exactly this - he said that the Scottish Banks take out a similar number of English notes and substitute them for their own. Don't know if this is still (or even ever) true.
  • I have had to argue with countless shop assistants over the years about using Scottish notes in England - I'd like to see the reaction if we tried to refuse to take a Bank of England bank note up here! Many, many moons ago when I started my first job as a checkout operator we were told that it didn't matter which bank was the issuer, as long as the notes said STERLING on them we had to accept them. As for 20 bob notes, they are still accepted and in circulation but only Royal Bank of Scotland ones are still made to my knowledge.

    Can I also just add that while this is a great little topic for discussion, I think the topic title is slightly inflammatory - someone just glancing at the title and not reading the rest of the post could misinterpret the meaning and result in yet more Scottish notes not being accepted! Just my thoughts ;-)
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  • phizzimumphizzimum Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    in the post office yesterday a man was trying to buy 6000 first class stamps (yes six thousand) and paid for them with scottish bank notes. the cashier wasn't very happy about it but eventually said she would accept the money but she insisted on checking them all as she said that they've had problems with counterfeit scottish notes.

    needless to say we were all queuing a long time...
    weaving through the chaos...
  • secuesecue Forumite
    8 Posts
    To be honest I don't think you have really thought about what you are posting here MSE Lawrence. If this is true it may well be an interesting fact, however i seriously suggest you post your sources on this....many people are just taking your word for it, but how do you KNOW?

    Show us the laws that say this is right... :confused:

    Years ago I experienced the same thing when a taxi driver in leeds suggested my money wasn't worth anything more than monopoly money.

    I know you haven't meant it as such, but your actually having a little dig at the scots here...the english have been dismissive of our currency for years and your not doing us any favours by legitimizing that dismissal.
  • Zimmy_2Zimmy_2 Forumite
    6 Posts
    :eek: Good grief!!! :eek:

    I have enough trouble trying to convince thick barmaids in England that Scottish notes are legal without headlines like
    "Scottish Bank Notes Aren’t Legal Tender... Even In Scotland!"

    Aaargh! Every one of them has to go and ask the manager if its ok, now even the manager won't believe me. Thanks a lot Martin.

    Please rectify this in your next post!

  • BigDonutBigDonut Forumite
    291 Posts
    Had lots of problem getting scottish notes accepted in England.
    Think may have had them accepted in Carlisle but get further south and they look at you like you've handed them monopoly money.

    "Is this real?"

    Also been refused by money changers abroad who say they won't change scottish notes.
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