Frequently asked questions

Who are the members of ACBI?

Those banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland that are authorised to issue their own banknotes.  Current members are: Bank of Ireland; Bank of Scotland; Clydesdale Bank; Danske Bank (formerly Northern Bank); First Trust Bank; Royal Bank of Scotland; and Ulster Bank.

What is the legal position regarding Scottish & Northern Ireland banknotes?

Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes are legal currency throughout the UK.  They are authorised and approved by the UK Parliament, a position that was established by legislation as long ago as 1845 and has been reinforced more recently by Part 6 of the Banking Act 2009.  In accordance with current legislation, Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes are fully backed at all times by assets that are ring-fenced for the benefit of note holders. Consequently, holders of genuine Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes have the same level of protection as that available to holders of genuine Bank of England notes. Further information can be found on the Current Banknotes Legal Position page of this website.

What happens to old notes?

Alongside the right to issue banknotes comes the responsibility to dispose of them when they have completed their useful life. The notes used to be burnt but nowadays they are, generally,  granulated under strictest security and the paper is recycled.

What about counterfeit notes?

The incidence of counterfeiting remains relatively low in comparison to the number of notes on issue, but there are still some counterfeit banknotes in circulation. You can get further information relating to counterfeit notes by clicking here. You should always remember to check your notes to ensure you are not caught out. The banknotes pages on this website will help you to identify genuine notes.

What if I come into possession of a counterfeit note?

Counterfeit notes are valueless.   If you know who gave you the note, take it to the police at once for investigation purposes.

If you don’t know who gave it to you, take it to a branch of the bank of issue.  The bank will retain the counterfeit note for recording and destruction purposes and provide you with a receipt.  

You will only be re-imbursed for the value of the note if it is subsequently found to be genuine.

It is a criminal offence to keep or to pass on a note that you know to be a counterfeit.