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Bank of Scotland Explanation

Scottish American Society

Bank of Scotland Explanation

Thank you for your recent letter about the difficulties you encountered recently in Romania.  Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience that you experienced.
 
Scottish Banknotes are not actually legal tender even in Scotland.  They are accepted here by way of tradition, habit and repute.  To the best of my knowledge, only Scottish and Northern Irish Banks retain the right to issue their own banknotes in Sterling.
 
English Banks also had that right, but by law they lost it whenever they merged.  I think the last individual English bank lost its right to issue notes around the time of the First World War.  In every other country only the national bank or the government treasury department bears that responsibility.
 
Banks abroad are not allowed to re-issue Scottish banknotes to customers as only Bank of England notes are legal tender in the U.K. That means that any Scottish banknotes that are presented to banks abroad for payment e.g. in Romania, must be sent back to Scotland to be exchanged.
 
Clearly there is a cost for packaging, transporting, handling and insuring such remittances and loss of interest on the money until they are refunded, therefore there may be a charge made or a lower exchange rate given to cover these costs of repatriating the notes.  Each bank decides its own policy on accepting foreign banknotes from its customers.  The incidence of Scottish banknotes being tendered for payment is likely to be very small in most places and it is probable
therefore that for reasons of these costs and the potential for inexperienced staff not to notice forgeries the banks will not accept such notes except on a collection basis. i.e. they send the notes to Scotland and await the funds being returned to them (process may take weeks) before handing the money over to the customer.  That is a service which they may only offer to their own customers and in any
event is unlikely to be of service to the average visitor.  Hence the reason that your notes were not accepted.
 
We always advise our customers only to take Bank of England notes when travelling abroad because of the probability of refusal.  That said many customers find that Scottish notes are accepted in some of the larger European holiday resorts (e.g. Benidorm in Spain) simply because so many Scots go there on  holiday, but these tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule.
 
I hope that my explanation has satisfactorily answered your query.
 
Thank you for writing.  
 
Yours sincerely
 
Robert A Macdonald,
Customer Relations Manager
UK Retail Ops-Customer Relations Unit, The Forthstone, Ground Floor 56
South Gyle Crescent Edinburgh EH12 9LE Depot Code: 45 T: 0131 523 5341
F: 0131 523 6551
 
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Registered in Scotland No. 90312.
Registered Office: 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2YB
 
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
 

Probably best to exchange currency prior to leaving the country - unless you plan to return to that country or know someone else who is planning a visit.  In the latter case, they might be happy to exchange funds when you get home.  Another alternative might be to exchange your UK funds for European Euros before leaving the UK.