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Pair of Kiwi travellers sound the alarm after two New Zealand banks sell them expired British currency


A couple of young Kiwi travellers have sounded the alarm after two New Zealand banks sold them expired currency - old paper £5 and £10 British banknotes - which they couldn't use in the UK on their big OE.

The pair arrived in Scotland only to find out the 100 pounds they had was no longer legal tender. Source: Fair Go

"I went to buy a couple of things to send home and I handed over my ten-pound note and was told that they don't actually accept that anymore," Ruby Pickering told Fair Go.

Ruby and friend Cassie Erskine (both 18) had only just arrived in Scotland when they found the £100 they'd each bought in Whangarei at ANZ and Westpac branches were no longer legal tender. The old notes were also tricky to swap for new ones at the banks there.

"We were a bit shocked really. We only got the notes a week before, so it was quite recent."

But the change happened more than a year ago, when the Bank of England ditched paper for new polymer £5 and £10 banknotes. It also got rid of evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin and replaced him with novelist Jane Austen on the tenner.

Fair Go contacted the banks here and they showed some sense and sensibility.

"Unfortunately we made a mistake when giving Ruby her foreign currency. We apologise to Ruby for our error and will refund her for the inconvenience at the start of her trip," an ANZ spokesperson told Fair Go.

"We've been in touch with our branches today to double check all currency stocks and to help prevent this happening again."

Westpac told Fair Go this was a first and it has been taking similar measures - and it's just as sorry about Cassie's cash.

"We would like to wholeheartedly apologise to our customer for issuing banknotes that have been withdrawn from circulation and as a gesture of goodwill, we will refund in full the money that was withdrawn, into her account," a Westpac spokesperson said.

Westpac adds that it will still buy old UK notes from its customers here - it just won't sell any more back.

Fair Go contacted BNZ, ASB and Kiwibank who all say they are on top of the issue too. BNZ recommends you pre-order foreign currency from the branch for best results.

Ruby and Cassie are stoked with the result and on their way to London and Europe for the rest of their holiday.