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New £20 banknote has special security features and can be ‘brought to life’

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

The new £20 banknote featuring artist JMW Turner has been described by the Bank of England as its most secure note yet.

Here is a look at why it has been introduced and the key security features which will help confirm that your note is genuine:

– What is the new banknote made from?

The Bank is creating its first series of notes made from polymer, a thin and flexible plastic material which is said to be more durable than paper notes.

Like the Sir Winston Churchill £5 and the Jane Austen £10, the new £20 is made from polymer.

– What security features does the new £20 note have?

(PA Graphics)

The note has a hologram image which changes. Tilt the note from side to side and you will see the words change between “twenty” and “pounds”.

The note also has see-through windows, with blue and gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back. There is also a silver foil patch containing a 3D image of the coronation crown.

Under a good quality ultra-violet light, the number “20” appears in bright red and green on the front of the note, against a duller background.

– What other features does the new note have?

The note has raised dots to help blind and partially sighted people identify the value of the note.

The higher the value of a note, the larger it is. This note is around 139mm by 73mm.

– Anything else special about it?

Snapchat users will be able to bring the note to life by hovering over the note or an image of the new £20.

The note will appear to transform into a live piece of artwork through the use of augmented reality.

– What about the old £20 note?

You can continue to use the old paper £20 featuring economist Adam Smith  for now, as normal.

The Bank will give six months’ notice ahead of their legal tender status being withdrawn.

– Could this be the last £20 banknote we see?

A £20 note that was first issued in 1725 and last issued in 1943 (Bank of England/PA)

The rapid decline in cash use in recent years, as digital payments have surged, has sparked debates about whether we are heading towards a cashless society.

According to trade association UK Finance, UK adults make around 28 card payments each month, of which 11 are contactless, and 17 cash payments on average. However, various industry initiatives have recently been launched to help preserve people’s cash access, particularly in rural and deprived areas.

And another new banknote is also set for launch next year, the new £50 note featuring Alan Turing, so it looks like cash will continue to be around.