This month, the Royal Mint will introduce its new high-tech £1 coin. Britons will then have a period of six months to get their existing pound coins cashed in, at which point, the existing coin that we have all come to know and love, will cease to be legal tender. This will have impact not only the nation’s piggybanks, but on industries that rely on coin-operated machines.
Here is everything you need to know about the new £1 coin:
- Why do we need a new coin?
There are nearly 1.59 billion £1 coins in circulation. The Royal Mint estimates that just over 3% of these coins are counterfeit – nearly £48 million worth. The current £1 coin has been in circulation for 30 years now, predating modern counterfeiting technology. The Royal Mint says that the new coin will be contain some of the most advanced counterfeiting measures in the world.
- What does it look like?
The most obvious difference is that it is no longer round. The new coin has 12 sides (a dodecagon), making it much more difficult to replicate.The new coin is slightly larger than its predecessor and like the current £2 coin, is bimetallic – with a gold-coloured outer ring made from a nickel-brass and a nickel-plated alloy inner ring, which is silver in appearance.The coin also has what is known as a latent image – a hologram like feature that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to ‘1’ when the coin is viewed at different angles.
The Royal Mint says that there is also a hidden security feature built into the coin, but no further details have been revealed.
One side of the new currency combines the English rose, Scottish thistle, Welsh leek and Northern Irish shamrock, while the other side has a portrait of the Queen.
- When will the new £1 coin arrive?
The new £1 coin will enter circulation on 28 March.
- What will happen to the old pound coin?
There will be a 6-month period of co-circulation, in which both the new and the old coin will be accepted. On October 15 2017, the old coin will cease to be legal tender.
- What action do I need to take?
Experts are advising that Brits spend their coins sooner rather than later in order to avoid being stuck with unusable coins. Banks have said that they will continue to exchange the old pound coin for notes after the October 15 deadline, but they must be in bags of £20.
- What impact will this have on businesses?
A wide variety of industries have come to rely on coins. The vending industry is the most obvious example, but coins are also used by retailers, gyms, hotels, sports centres, supermarkets and airports, to name just a few.It’s impossible to say exactly how much the switch over will cost these various industries. When the new 5p and 10p coins were introduced, the Treasury Economic Impact Assessment suggested that it cost the coin-operated industry approximately £80 million.The British Parking Association (BPA) has stated that the new coin will cost their industry in excess of £50 million.
- What should businesses do to prepare for the switch?
Many supermarkets and vending companies are already working to update their equipment so that both coins are accepted. This is an expensive process, because not only will machines need to be able to accept both currencies for the period of six months, but there will be another update required once the old pound coin is removed from circulation. Other companies are treating the currency switch as an opportunity to future-proof their coin-operated mechanisms. An increasing number of gyms, hotels, sports clubs and leisure centres are turning to Codelocks for keyless locking solutions that negate the need for coins altogether.The KL1050 KitLock, for example, is a simple, smart card lock that provides easy access to lockers, cabinets, cupboards and other enclosures. The lock can quickly replace existing cam locks, saving companies time and money ahead of the currency switch, and also future-proofing against any further currency changes.
Businesses that have upgraded their lockers making leisure experiences better for their customers: