Bank of England to launch accessible £50 note in June

Post date: 
Thursday, 25 March 2021
David Clarke Director of Services at RNIB

The Bank of England’s commitment to making money accessible will be reinforced this Summer when it launches its new £50 note with tactile markings to help it stand out from existing notes. 

The £50 will complete its suite of accessible bank notes, following changes to the £5, £10 and £20 notes in recent years. Like the others, the new £50 note will be made out of polymer and has accessible features developed out of work the bank did with RNIB. We helped the bank discover what blind and partially sighted shoppers would find the most helpful when determining the value of different denominations.

While the £10 note has two clusters of tactile markings and the £20 has three, the £50 note will feature four clusters of tactile markings in one corner to help it stand out.

According to the bank, it has prioritised making currency accessible to everyone in society, so banknotes have been different sizes to help people with sight loss recognise the different denominations. Also, denominations are different in height and width. They are also different colours and they have the denomination in clear print on a white background.

Scientist, mathematician and WWII code-breaker Alan Turing OBE is featured on the new £50 which comes into circulation on 23 June 2021, Turing’s birthday. 

Sarah John, chief cashier at the Bank of England, said: “We know it can be a challenge for blind and partially sighted people to tell the difference between different banknotes and when we moved to the polymer banknotes it gave us the opportunity to try out different technologies and work on a tactile feature that would make it easier for people. We are very grateful to RNIB for working with us to design that feature.”

David Clarke, director of services at RNIB, added: “It can be difficult to tell the difference between the different notes and coins if you're blind or partially sighted, so our work with the bank has been vital in making money more accessible. With the update to the £50 note, we are delighted that the set is now complete.”