The paper £5 note has officially been withdrawn from circulation today (May 5) after being replaced by the polymer note in September last year.

Retailers do not have to accept paper £5 notes but can do so at their own discretion, as the co-circulation period for the two notes ends today. The Bank of England will always exchange its old-series notes.

The switch to polymer notes was made to introduce a new generation of security features which make them even harder to counterfeit. They are also claimed to be resistant to dirt and moisture, and so remain in better condition for longer. The strength of the polymer material means that the new £5 note is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the paper note, around five years.

In September 2017 the Bank of England will issue a new polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen.

There is currently an ongoing co-circulation period for new and old £1 coins. The new coin was introduced on March 28. The old £1 coin is due to be taken out of circulation on October 15 2017.

Retailers looking for more information on the £1 coin and updating their machines to ensure that they can accept the coin should visit