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King Charles banknotes enter circulation

King Charles banknotes enter circulation

Baku, June 5, AZERTAC

New banknotes featuring the portrait of King Charles III have now entered circulation, but it may be some time before they are commonly seen in wallets and purses, according to BBC News.

The new Bank of England notes will gradually replace those which are damaged, or will be issued when demand increases.

The King is only the second monarch to appear on these notes, with Queen Elizabeth II first featuring in 1960.

Shoppers can still use current circulating £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes carrying the portrait of the late Queen.

The reverse side of current polymer Bank of England banknotes, which in ascending order feature Sir Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, JMW Turner and Alan Turing, are unchanged. Notes issued in Scotland and Northern Ireland feature other images, and not the monarch.

The first new banknotes were printed last year, with the long lead-in time allowing automated machines that accept cash to be updated to recognise the new designs. The King's portrait is based on a picture taken in 2013.

In April last year, the BBC was given exclusive access to the highly-secure site where the notes are being produced.

A year on, the King was presented with a full set with the lowest serial numbers, following the tradition of the monarch receiving the first issues of new banknotes.

Collectors seek banknotes which come as close to the 00001 serial number as possible.

The Post Office reported collectors visiting branches which had stocks of the notes during the day.

There was an early queue outside the Bank of England in London, where an exchange service is in operation until 11 June, with a limit of £300. It is also running a postal service with the same limit until 30 June, with an application form required to be completed.

Volunteers at the Bank said around 200 people visited on Wednesday to exchange their notes.

Student Sean Brown, 20, travelled from Hertfordshire to get one of the first notes.

"Since I was young I've been collecting coins so I wanted to be here for this monumental occasion," he said.

While the King is appearing on banknotes, cash may be disappearing from our lives.

"This is a historic moment, as it’s the first time we’ve changed the sovereign on our notes," said Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey.

"We know that cash is important for many people, and we are committed to providing banknotes for as long as the public demand them."

But a survey for Link, the UK’s cash access and ATM network, found that nearly half (48%) of those asked said they expected a cashless society during their lifetime.

However, the same proportion said this would be problematic, and 71% of those surveyed said they still had some level of everyday reliance on cash.

Yet figures from consumer association Which? found that 6,000 bank branches had closed in the last nine years, leaving many places with none at all and limited access to cash.

Fifty of them now have banking hubs - shared premises, often run by the Post Office - where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, and where community workers from different banks visit once a week.

One of the more unusual is in the harbour town of Looe in Cornwall, a county with rich connections to King Charles.

The hub is found behind a cafe and heritage centre and underneath a top restaurant, where the entrance to a climbing wall used to be.

"People can come to take money out, put money in, they can deposit cheques, we give change for local businesses," said Debbie Young, manager at the hub.

"People come to pay their bills and top up their gas and electric."

With the last bank having closed 18 months ago, the hub is a lifeline, according to Ange Harrison, who manages the coffee shop in front of the hub.

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