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    Former MSE Penelope
    0 WOW
    'What's legal tender?' discussion
    • #1
    • 11th May 10, 4:47 PM
    0 WOW
    'What's legal tender?' discussion 11th May 10 at 4:47 PM
    True or False? Scottish notes aren't legal tender even in Scotland!
    Legal Tender - Facts & Fiction

    From the end of next month the old style Edward Elgar 20 note will be withdrawn from circulation, meaning you can't use it, CHECK though as you can trade it in a bank. Yet what is, and isn't, acceptable is oft shrouded in mist - mainly because the term legal tender is pretty spectacularly misunderstood.
    • Are Scottish bank notes legal tender? No, not even in Scotland, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be used. It simply means most people don't understand what legal tender is (see below). Bank of England notes are only legal tender in England and Wales, meaning there are no legal tender notes in Scotland at all.
    • What is legal tender? It simply means if you have a court order against you for money, the person you owe cannot turn down your settlement if you offer to pay by legal tender.
    • Trivia time - Is 22p of 2ps legal tender? No but 18p is. Useful pub quiz knowledge, with coins the amount counts. So you can settle court debts of up to 20p in 1ps and 2ps; up to 5 in 5ps & 10ps and up to 10 in 20ps & 50ps. However, 1 & 2 coins are legal tender to any amount - in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland CHECK.
    • What if a shop refuses your cash? There's little you can do, shops don't have to sell you goods, whatever you offer for payment.

    Let me finish with a quick word to English shopkeepers - please do accept Scottish and Northern Irish notes. They are UK Parliament approved legal currency, which makes them a perfectly acceptable way to pay.

    Please click reply to discuss below:

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    Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 11-05-2010 at 4:50 PM.
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  • bigchasbroon
    • #2
    • 11th May 10, 10:19 PM
    • #2
    • 11th May 10, 10:19 PM
    I once had a meal in cornwall and when I went to pay the girl didnt want to take my scottish notes in the end she took them but does anyone know what would happen if they refused to take them could I be charged with some offence for eating the food and not having the means to pay?
  • Phyre Faerie
    • #3
    • 11th May 10, 10:31 PM
    • #3
    • 11th May 10, 10:31 PM
    Very interesting facts there.
    I work in retail and think it's not so much confusion about whether the note is able to be legally used but more confusion on how to detect forgery's. Most places nowadays have lights and detector pens but lack of education on how to spot a fake without that kind of help and taking losses made most places just stop accepting them. This is ridiculous.
    Having been brought up in the north and now living in the south it's even more noticeable as less regional currency filters its way down here and people eye it with suspicion.
    I have stopped a few Scottish fakes here including one 50. The users definitely trade on the assumption the shop assistant does not know what they are looking at.
    Got Married 1st may '10!
    Our Money Saving wedding was the best day of our lives!!

  • cdam
    • #4
    • 11th May 10, 10:34 PM
    • #4
    • 11th May 10, 10:34 PM
    A couple of years ago i bought some pasties in Sheffield in the Real Pastie Company shop. they wouldn't take my Scottish money, apparently company policy at the time, but just gave me the pasties.
  • 1984ReturnsForReal
    • #5
    • 11th May 10, 11:09 PM
    • #5
    • 11th May 10, 11:09 PM
    Are stamps still legal tender?
  • crafty_kitten
    • #6
    • 11th May 10, 11:15 PM
    • #6
    • 11th May 10, 11:15 PM
    What I hate when I use Scottish notes down here south of the border is the looks that they give you in the shops. As if you are trying to pass off foreign currency!! Yet when you use English notes up in Scotland they don't bat an eyelid. A few times I have gone through a checkout in certain shops and they tell me they can't accept Scottish notes. I just ask for the manager. They soon take the money when faced with having to put all my shopping back on the shelf!!........LOL
    • bobhawke
    • By bobhawke 11th May 10, 11:30 PM
    • 356 Posts
    • 214 Thanks
    • #7
    • 11th May 10, 11:30 PM
    • #7
    • 11th May 10, 11:30 PM
    Michael McIntyre sums up my knowledge of legal tender:

    Every time that i have been to England i have had Scottish notes refused. Best way to save money in England is to carry Scottish notes, then you can't buy anything when you are tempted
  • flyingscotno1
    • #8
    • 12th May 10, 12:39 AM
    • #8
    • 12th May 10, 12:39 AM
    Never had a problem at supermarkets or larger places really, only small businesses.

    Indeed my Dad has a story on a business trip to London. The restaurant was being really arsey about serving 12 people (only in the U.K would they attempt to turn away 12 folk at a restaurant!). They hatched a plan where the Scottish folk emptied their wallets of every Scottish note they all had and the bill was paid in that. The restaurant was still moaning as they all walked out- bit of payback, the restaurant got paid everyone was happy but just some fun.

    Indeed since the Bank of England only started 50 notes within the last 30 years and don't do 100, I've heard it was fashionable in the City to have Scottish 100 in your wallet in the 1980s as a bit of showing off. Whether that is true (or encouraged these days!) I don't know!

    In fairness whilst Scottish people are happy to take Bank of England and all Scottish notes, outside of Ayrshire, Northern Irish notes are treated with the same- 'your printing your own money aren't you' look. I ran out of 5 notes except a Northern Bank one and yep someone needed 9.43 of change. Gave her the 5 and you'd have thought I'd just robbed here. She preferred masses of 1 coin in the end!
    • skybluearmyontour
    • By skybluearmyontour 12th May 10, 12:58 AM
    • 215 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    • #9
    • 12th May 10, 12:58 AM
    • #9
    • 12th May 10, 12:58 AM
    I work in retail and we accept any notes that say Sterling. No fancy machines check if its real, just a piece of paper with instructions and pictures on it!

    We don't take coins though. Like today I refused a Jersey (or Guernsey...bad memory) 20p coin. They aren't the same size as the normal 20's so would be refused in machines and bank counting machines I guess. I also saw a 1 note from Scotland.... don't think we take them either.

    I work with a bunch of dopey people (not for long I hope) and they always panic when they see one.

    It's hardly a big deal!
  • babyapril
    I find this very interesting. There is always the argument about what is legal tender and what is not.

    I had a very interesting conversation with a shop owner in London just the other week. I wanted to buy 2 bottles of water and only had scottish notes, the new clydesdale bank ones and yes granted they look very odd even we have to take a double take at them. The lady argued with me that because she had never seen them before she was not taking them and even when I insisted that I only had a 5 or a 10 and they were both Scottish she would not take either. I found it odd that she would rather loose the sale than accept something she could either give away again as change or take to the bank. I did however find the nearest teller and take out English money to use for the rest of my trip to avoid any more confusion.
    1 notes were always a consfusing one as many people took them for 5 and gave change for 5.
    I belive that it is very confusing for people as there are so many different designs of notes our side of the border and I do not have any problem with people saying no. I just wish that everyone was aware of the differences and just accepted them instead of causing ambarassment.
    I am glad that you have given us a bit of an insight into the realms of legal tender.
  • cumbrialink
    its similar when you go to the states with travellers cheques in the states if your in a tourist area you can use your travellers cheques as cash in most shops.
    go away from the tourist areas and they really question this, sometimes inviolving lengthy phone calls to head office. Who are then not sure so they suggest they call the banks and get their opinion.

    I think all this is bad training for staff in a lot of cases.

    I love it when in England i present a scottish note to the girl who sits on a till chewing gum and chatting to her friend tracey next door.

    We don't accept this she says, so after a few words demanding they take it she calls the manager. The manager puts her right and explains to her any note that says sterling on it can be accepted. I then politely tell the manager this girl needs training in her approach to customer service and stop chewing gum and chatting whilst serving the customer.

    The put down is a great ego boost for me and embarrasses the shop girl for being so ignorant.
    Last edited by cumbrialink; 12-05-2010 at 8:52 AM. Reason: bad spelling
  • fat jez
    I work in retail and we accept any notes that say Sterling.
    Originally posted by skybluearmyontour
    I presume you don't accept English notes then, as they do not say Sterling anywhere on them.
    • Enterprise 1701C
    • By Enterprise 1701C 12th May 10, 9:42 AM
    • 19,487 Posts
    • 209,708 Thanks
    Enterprise 1701C
    Sterling or Bank of England notes does me just fine - if in doubt I walk the few paces to the post office end and ask them.

    I believe Channel Islands money is not legal tender here, although ours is there!

    I had someone try to pay with an old 2 coin the other day - very upset when I would not take it, and the post office referred her to the bank (two doors up!) and she did not like that either!
    What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare
  • beefy411
    I was always under the impression that banknotes were just promissary notes from the banks to pay the bearer on demand a said amount of pounds. I believe the Scottish banknotes still say sterling unlike the English notes.
  • lakelandsweetcompany
    scottish money
    Scottish notes means the scots are in town spending it we sell scottish sweets in our shop so why not pay in scottish money untill my bank tells me not to ill keep taking them (wish i had a till full every night)
    Robbie burns tokens as we call em, i am not a scot by the way
    • leeleepop
    • By leeleepop 12th May 10, 10:29 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    There are three different types of Scottish bank notes for each denomination. If you've never come across any of these before, spending an extra few moments to check for a forgery is sensible.

    Go to and look up Scottish banknotes.

    Could you spot a forgery (unless you regularly handle them obviously...) within 5 seconds of receiving one?

    It's up to the managers to train staff, it's not a cashiers fault. A note with quick check info on forgeries/eral notes be put up near tills. For English ANd Scottish notes.

    If the receiver is rude/difficult, then fair enough you deserve a moan, but otherwise, anyone who gets rage over this is just ENJOYING having a moan!
    • A.Jones
    • By A.Jones 12th May 10, 10:31 AM
    • 506 Posts
    • 441 Thanks
    I rarely use legal tender. If what I am buying is more than a quid, then I use a credit card. I get 1% cashback for paying that way.
  • ebo.h
    Re 'Note to shopkeepers.'
    When I had a shop, we did not accept Scottish notes, but only because they are so rarely seen that staff were unfamiliar with them, and had difficulty in distinguishing forgeries, which were common.
    For the same reason we also declined B of E 50 notes.
  • timil
    There should be no discussion about what constitutes Legal Tender as this is enshrined in legislation and explained clearly by the royal mint. Google finds it easily; this site won't let me post a link. What someone will accept as payment is up to them, whether it be Scottish notes or shirt buttons. A lack of familiarity with Scottish currency amongst Cornish shopkeepers can leave them open to counterfeits so I wouldn't blame them for asking for something more familiar.
  • MarsKy
    I'm Scots, and I can understand why English shopkeepers are wary of Scots notes.
    When the latest Royal/ Bank of Scotland notes were given to me in change, I had to have a good look at them. More-so the Clydesdale Bank notes which aren't as common and often have wonderful but unfamiliar designs.
    Legal tender or not, there's no immediate way of verifying a note as being trustworthy - could be someone with a good of understanding of Photoshop or printing presses.
    If I go down south I hit the cash machines down there to get Bank of England notes as it makes life a lot easier.
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