Legal tender is a legal term. US currency is legal tender. If a business owner wants to, they can deny payment in cash and require coins or refuse payment by that person outright. A creditor may not refuse all forms of legal tender. If their area laws allow them to refuse business with an individual, like they do in the US, they may exercise that right. In England, a business owner may happily take in Scottish notes, but because they're not legal tender, they're not obligated to. However, they will lose that business. A Scot visiting England can have their notes exchanged by any bank that issues English pounds. It's not difficult to understand. Scottish notes aren't considered legal tender in Scotland either, yet they're still accepted. American checks are not legal tender either, yet they're accepted without haste. The BoE site also states that single and two pence coins are legal tender up until a single or combined amount of 20 pence. Anything extra is not legal tender when paying a debt. English bank notes aren't considered legal tender in Scotland, yet they're still accepted by businesses if they're not living in the dark about it. http://edu.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/what-is-legal-tender/ And people, mainly the elderly, who enjoy keeping money at home: In the US, all coin and cash up to $100 denomination is considered legal tender. Any special issued notes, coins, gold, silver, bars of precious metals, checks, credit card payments, debit card payments, et al. are not considered legal tender and may be outright refused. A business or individual is well within their right to refuse high denominations of legal tender outright without falling to civil suit. They can refuse all legal tender or none from your person if they offer another payment method, or they can refuse service to you. Legal Tender ≠ Legal Currency The various banks in the UK have agreed the currency circulating is legal currency. Not all currency is legal tender.