Legal Tender and Coinage

13.3.0.L1 Updated on:

Small change

The following amounts of change are accepted as legal tender. Neither a trader nor a bank is obliged to accept more than the following number of coins –

  • 1p and 2p coins up to the value of 20p
  • 5p and 10p coins up to the value of £5
  • 20p and 50p coins up to the value of £10
  • £1 and £2 coins up to any amount.

A bank can refuse to accept small change above these amounts, although in practice they are likely to accept higher amounts. Banks may charge business customers for accepting large amounts of small change.

Refusing payment

It is a common misconception that businesses must accept cash payment as it is legal tender.  In practice, a business can refuse service for any reason as long as they are not discriminating against a protected characteristic.  These are Race, Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Reassignment, Pregnancy and Maternity, Age and Disability. A business is entitled to accept payment by card only, for example.  However, a business should clearly display information informing consumers of the payment terms, i.e. only cash or cards accepted and if a surcharge will be applied for cancelled payments and if so, what that amount will be.