The new £1 coin: Are you Ready?
We first received word that we could expect the new £1 coin in 2017 during the chancellor’s 2014 budget. During those simpler times March’s deadline seemed so far away, and yet we now have little more than a month until the new 12-sided coin arrives. Is your business prepared for the upcoming changeover? Do you know how to advise your clients?
Why is there going to be a new £1 coin?
The Royal Mint has estimated that one in thirty £1 coins is a counterfeit; that’s a huge loss to the country’s economy each year. The new 12-sided coins, which will be made from nickel-brass and nickel-plated alloy, are designed to be more sophisticated than their round counterparts – thus more difficult to forge. In addition, the coins will boast a holographic security feature, that transforms the ‘£’ symbol into a ‘1’ at various angles.
How will I be affected?
If you were listening during the 2014 budget you’ve had two years to prepare for the changeover. Indeed, if your business handles coins there’s a good chance that you’ve already been provided with the relevant hardware and software updates to cope with the switch. Coin-operated car parks, vending machines, payphones, supermarket trolleys, and lockers are among the systems that will need to be altered. You will also need to upgrade your cash counting equipment to take the new coin’s weight into consideration. If you’ve not yet ordered your upgrades, you’re running out of time. Offices beware; your vending machines will be in need of alteration, so make those arrangements now if you haven’t already.
You have until 27th March 2017 to:
- Check whether any of your machinery or equipment handles the £1 coin
- Contact your suppliers to enquire about upgrading your software and hardware
- Implement changes to your coin handling equipment
- Ensure staff members are trained
- Consider the cash-handling processes you currently use
We would advise taking such action as soon as possible, to avoid confusion as the end of March approaches. Between 27th March and 15th October 2017 you can accept both kinds of £1 coin from customers, although the old coin will cease to be legal tender from the 16th October 2017.
What do I need to know as a consumer?
The introduction of the new £1 coin is expected to cause chaos for consumers and retailers alike – regardless of how prepared you are for the switch. The current £1, which has been in circulation since 1983, will remain legal tender until October. For the time being it would be wise to keep a small stash of both old and new coins with you at all times. This will prevent you being caught short should you come across a trolley or payment machine that only accepts the former. Your old trolley tokens will soon be rendered obsolete, so be sure to search for alternatives.
Unlike the new £5 note, which replaced tender of a similar size, shape, and colour, the new £1 coin is a complete change from what we’re all used to. If you’re at all unsure about any aspect of the new £1 coin’s circulation, or you’d like to clarify how you’ll be affected, please visit here.