It is a long-running complaint from many who travel south of the Border from Scotland when an attempt to use a Scottish banknote is met by the refusal to accept the currency. 

However, shops can refuse a Scottish banknote or any banknote for that matter. A business can choose what payment they accept. They are at liberty to refuse a £50 note or any note, it’s a matter of discretion. 

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What is classed as legal tender?

Just to keep things complicated, what's classed as legal tender varies across the UK. In England and Wales, Royal Mint coins and Bank of England notes are legal tender. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, only Royal Mint coins are legal tender, with English bank notes not classed as legal tender. 

Debit and credit cards are not classed as legal tender. 

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The Bank of England states: “The term legal tender does not in itself govern the acceptability of banknotes in transactions. Whether or not notes have legal tender status, their acceptability as a means of payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved."

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Why are Scottish bank notes refused? 

The majority of banknotes circulating in Scotland are issued by Scottish banks and are accepted quite freely in Scotland and across the UK. 

The notes are also legal currency and are approved by the UK Parliament, however, Scottish banknotes are often refused at the discrepancy of the business.

If a banknote is refused, there is very little you can do as payment is essentially a matter for agreement between the parties involved.