60% of Britons have no idea who’s on their banknotes

Over half of British people (60 per cent) cannot identify the famous people on UK banknotes, according to a new study by cash-back site Quico.


Queen Victoria on the £5 note?

When 2000 people were shown adults with images of the £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes, just one in three were able to name philanthropist and social reformer Elizabeth Fry who is the face of the £5. Over a quarter (28 per cent) thought it was Florence Nightingale. One in ten actually thought it was Queen Victoria!

Over a third of people (35 per cent) failed to identify Charles Darwin on the £10 note and eight per cent thought it was actually Isambard Kingdom Brunel, while 5 percent thought he was German born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.


Adam Smith the composer?

Three-quarters of respondents did not recognise the economist Adam Smith on the £20, with 14 percent thinking it was civil engineer George Stevenson, while 13 percent thought the Duke of Wellington featured. Four per cent actually thought it was the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.



“The research shows that Brits have an appetite for immortalising some more recent British Icons on our bank notes, and despite the worthiness of our current line up, it might be time for a refresh,” said Vix Leyton of cash back site Quidco.

He proffers this failure to recognise British luminaries is a sign of people moving away from cash. Exchanging bank notes is not quite so commonplace as it once was. Apple Pay and Contactless have made it so convenient to pay directly via the bank that making sure people always carry cash is no longer a necessity.

“Obviously this could mean that people don’t have so tight a grip on what they are spending.”

The research also found that 34 per cent of those questioned felt there should be more current figures featured on the notes, while 77 per cent felt that more women should be recognised on our currency.

Some names that came up were Cilla Black and J.K Rowling.

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