Banks and financial services businesses urged to make sure they are prepared as the co-circulation period begins
The new 12-sided coin becomes legal tender today and is being rolled out across the country, in a major boost to tackle the rise of counterfeits. HM Treasury and The Royal Mint have been working with the banking industry to prepare for the introduction and are urging businesses to make sure they are prepared for the upcoming co-circulation period, where both the old and new coins will be accepted as legal tender until October 15th.
This is the first time the £1 coin has been introduced in over 30 years. The new 12-sided £1 coin is the most secure coin in the world. It boasts several security features to prevent counterfeits, which cost taxpayers and businesses millions every year.
As an industry, the financial sector is welcoming the new coin as a positive step towards combating the use of counterfeit coins.
Businesses of all sizes are being encouraged to visit www.thenewpoundcoin.com to find out how the co-circulation period will affect them. During the co-circulation period
· Businesses can accept both the old and the new £1 coins from customers
· Businesses need to return old and new £1 coins in separate bags to enable banks to process the coins
· Industry equipment may be able to accept and dispense both £1 coins
· Businesses will need to tell customers which coins their equipment can accept
· Businesses will need to ensure all staff are aware of the changes
Adam Lawrence, chief executive of Royal Mint, said:
“It’s an historic day for UK coinage, and one that The Royal Mint has been working towards, together with businesses and industry, for a number of years. From today, the public will start to encounter for themselves the most innovative and secure coin ever produced by The Royal Mint.
"It’s been designed to be fit for the future, using security features that aim to safeguard our currency, and currencies around the world, for years to come. Staying ahead of sophisticated counterfeiters remains a constant challenge and this coin helps in that battle”.
Martin Kearsley Banking Director Post Office, said:
“Our Post Office network of over 11600 branches touches every community in the UK, so we and our postmasters will play a key role in launching this coin into circulation, as we intend to take £330m from The Royal Mint – almost a quarter of the £1.5 billion coins they are producing. We have been working closely with Her Majesty’s Treasury and The Royal Mint since the consultation period in 2014.
“A lot of work has being going on in the background and the Post Office has been a key partner in developing the operational processes for the launch. We’ve been working closely with our suppliers, to ensure that all aspects of the distribution process, from raw coin to bagged coin, and coin scales to self-service kiosks, are all ready to get the new coin out there and being spent.
“We will continue to accept both coins up until 15 October, when the round pound loses its legal status. Following the ending of legal tender status, customers can visit the Post Office to deposit round £1 coins into any personal UK bank account, and 75% of business accounts, through the Post Office. Customers holding a Post Office current account will also be able to exchange £1 coins after the 15 October.”
Carl Foster, Head of Coin Operations for NatWest said:
"The introduction of any new coin is always a great moment but we're particularly excited about the new £1 coin because it has the most advanced security features of any coin we've ever had in the UK.
"We've been working hard to upgrade all our systems so that from day one we can issue the new £1 coin and that people can deposit them with us in our branches. Customers can still use the old £1 coin until 15 October but it's important for businesses to remember that they will need to make the necessary changes to their operations to handle the new coin before this date."
The Royal Mint and HM Treasury have been working with businesses for the past three years to help them prepare for the change. Although many will have upgraded their machines to accept the new coin from 28 March, not all machines will accept the new coin from the date of introduction.
The new 12-sided £1 is highly secure and looks very different. New security features on the one pound coin include a hologram-like image that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles. It also has micro-lettering and milled edges.