Would you know whether or not to accept a Scottish banknote? One woman was faced with this dilemma when her Scottish sterling was refused by an Oxford hotel.

Jean Ye was seeing her daughter in the city when she visited Malmaison Oxford, a boutique hotel located at Oxford Castle on New Road, on Boxing Day.

Ms Ye, who is from Edinburgh, told the Oxford Mail she brought a beer in the hotel’s bar at around 4pm but when she went to pay with a Scottish £10 note, she was refused by a staff member.

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The 54-year old queried the refusal with the duty manager but was again told she could not pay with the note.

She said she “did not understand” and was “lost” why her payment using Scottish sterling was refused.

She added: “I could not comprehend how a hospitality venue’s manager could do such a thing.”

Oxford Mail: Scottish bank notes. Picture: PA Images Scottish bank notes. Picture: PA Images

As Ms Ye’s daughter attends Oxford University, she has visited the city a number of times before.

She explained although staff in other businesses in the city have “double checked” whether Scottish notes are accepted, she has “never” had trouble paying with them.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Ye often does not pay by cash and uses card instead but carries loose notes “just in case”. However, in this instance she wanted to use the sterling so she did not have to take it back to Scotland.

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Eventually, Ms Ye’s payment was accepted after she asked to speak with the hotel’s area manager.

Malmaison Oxford’s front of house manager told the Oxford Mail the hotel has been cashless for the last two years since the pandemic began.

She said: “To be completely honest, the staff member involved was not aware that we do accept Scottish sterling.

“When [Ms Ye] was at the property she was spoken to by the duty manager and we have been in touch with her since.”

The front of house manager added the hotel has already addressed the matter with the staff member and the rest of the team through training.

The Bank of England states businesses can choose payments they accept and no business is legally obliged to accept your money.

The phrase ‘legal tender’ has a very narrow definition in day-to-day life and what is classed as legal tender various throughout the UK.

In England and Wales, it’s Royal Mint coins and Bank of England notes. In Scotland and Northern Ireland it’s only Royal Mint coins and not banknotes.

In short, Scottish money can be used in England but legally it does not have to be accepted.

Would you know whether to accept Scottish bank notes or not? Let us know in our poll below:


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