From October a new 12-sided coin will replace the current one, although you don’t have to panic about getting rid of your old coins just yet. ---
Why do we need a new £1 coin?
The Royal Mint has said the current £1 coin has become vulnerable to sophisticated counterfeiters, and claim about one in 30 pound coins in circulation is a counterfeit. Introducing the new coin will reduce the costs of these counterfeit versions to both businesses and the taxpayer.
What is the difference between the two coins?
The new coin has a number of features which is meant to make it more difficult to counterfeit.
These include its 12-sided shape, micro-lettering on the rim, and a latent image which appears like a hologram - changing from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when it is seen from different angles.
There is also a hidden high security feature built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiters. The new design will feature an English rose, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle and Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet.
The new coin will also be thinner (2.8mm), lighter (8.75g) and slightly larger (23.43mm diameter) than the current coin.
How will it affect me?
The new coin is being moved into circulation on March 28, so you will see it in use during the weeks and months after that. Businesses who use coin-operated machines have been told to prepare for its introduction, and many have upgraded the machines to accept the new £1 coin.
However there will still be some which will not work with the new coin from the date of introduction, and customers are advised to speak to the equipment owner if they have any questions.
The current £1 will be moved out of legal tender on October 15, so shops will no longer accept them.
What will happen to my old £1 coins?
People are being encouraged to use their current £1 coins in shops and banks before the October deadline.
If you do not spend them they can be returned to your bank after October 15, but it is best to take them in before then.
How will it affect businesses?
Businesses which handle cash must make sure they are prepared for the introduction of the new £1 coin, and that they are ready to accept both the old and new version between this month and October.
They should also make sure they are aware of the key dates for the demonetisation of the old coin, when it will no longer be legal tender.
What are the key dates for businesses?
Now until March 27 - Check whether you operate equipment that handles the £1 coin and find out from your supplier if you need to make adaptations or replacements. You should train staff on the new features of the coin and consider any changes needed to how you handle cash.
March 28 until October 15 - You can accept both coins from customers, but make sure they are stored in separate bags for when they are given to the bank. You must check which coins your machines accept and dispense and let your customers know.
After October 15 - All coin-handling equipment must be able to handle the new £1 coins. You are under no obligation to accept the round £1 coin and you must not distribute it.