You won't be able to spend old £5 notes in two months

Some shops may still accept them but it's a their discretion

Old fivers stop being legal tender in two months

What should you do if you're handed an old paper £5 note in your change?

With less than two months left before they cease to be legal tender, shops have now been told not to hand over old-style paper £5 notes in change.

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The advice has been issued by the Bank of England ahead of the May 5 deadline for them to be taken out of circulation.

So what should you do if you're handed one - or if you still have one lurking in a piggy bank somewhere?

This may well be an issue for plenty of people still - there were close to 165 million paper £5 notes still in circulation at the start of 2017.

The answer is to try to spend them.

Some shops might still take them, although they will be well within their rights to refuse.

Vending machines may still also accept paper notes, even if humans won't.

Credits: Getty

The old five pound note will cease to be legal tender from May 5 this year

A spokesman for the Bank of England said: "Some retailers, banks and building societies may choose to accept paper £5 notes after the withdrawal date.

"However this is at the discretion of the individual institution."

If you're unable to spend any old notes, the next point of contact should be a bank or building society.

Again, high street banks can also refuse to exchange notes after the cut-off.

But don't panic - there will be one place that will always let you swap them, the Bank of England itself.

That phrase "I promise to pay the bearer on demand" is something that doesn't have a time limit on it, the bank has said.

The Bank of England's head office in London's note exchange desk lets anyone with an out of date note swap it for a current one – meaning anyone with a fiver can head there and swap their paper fivers for polymer ones.

In fact, even if a note's ripped or otherwise vandalised, as long as there's enough left to identify what it was they will swap it for a new one.

To exchange your bank notes in person you can take them to the Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH.

The counter is open from Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm, excluding Bank Holidays.

You can also exchange them by posting them to the bank.

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