The UK has released a new £1 coin that is set to become the most secure coin in the world.
This new release puts an end to the reign of the old £1 coin that has been in circulation for thirty years now. The new £1 coin which has 12 sides will enter circulation officially on March 28th, 2017. The old coin will stop being used as legal tender from 15th November 2017. The Royal Mint is set to make 1.5 billion + new £1 coins.
The British government has always had plans to replace the £1 note and coin. The plans were first launched on 21st April 1983. Since then, the British Royal Mint has made over 2.2. Billion £1 coins. There has been an increasing need to replace the old £1 coin since statistics indicate that one in every thirty £1 coins exchanged in the recent past has been fake. The increasing vulnerability of the old £1 coin informed the decision to introduce the new £1 coin.
Features of the new coin
The new £1 coin has numerous security features among them being a hologram. Depending on the angle from which you view the coin from, the hologram changes (from the pound symbol to 1). Also, the new coin features an outer and an inner ring coloured using gold and silver respectively. The coin is also lighter and thinner than the old coin and features smaller lettering. The diameter is, however, larger. The old coin also has milled edges.
Also, there are more than 25 different designs appearing on the new coin. The design ranges from trees to dragons. The new coin has borrowed its design from the old twelve-sided threepenny bit that seized being in circulation back in 1971. The new coin also features a latent image, has very small lettering, and milled edges (groves on the alternate sides of the coin).
It’s worth noting that approximately £1.3 billion is stored in savings jars (in coins) across the UK and the current one pound coin accounts for approximately 33% of these coins. As a result, people have been urged to either spend their old £1 coins or return them before they seize being legal tender. People also have the option of banking their old coins.
Another notable effect revolves around counterfeiting. The new one pound coin was designed solely to stop counterfeiting. As a result, businesses across the UK are expected to save the millions lost in counterfeit one pound coins. The new coin features 12 sides which are instantly recognizable. The coin also has a secret high-security feature that prevents counterfeiting in the future.
All UK businesses are also expected to prepare for the introduction, co-circulation as well as demonetisation periods i.e. when the coin is first introduced, when it will be in circulation alongside the old coin as well as when the old coin stops being used as legal tender.
When preparing for introduction, all business are expected to check if they operate equipment i.e. vending machines which accept/handle the old £1 coin. If so, business owners should contact their equipment suppliers to know if they will need any adaptations or replacements on their machines and when those adaptations or replacements should be performed. Business owners are also expected to train their staff on the new coin features as well as consider any other changes to cash handling processes.
During the co-circulation period, business owners should have equipment accepting/dispensing the new coin. During the demonetization period i.e. 16th October 2017 onwards, all coin handling equipment should accept the new coin. Business are however free to decline payments made using the old coin. Business owners who handle machines which accept the old pound coin i.e. vending machines stand to be most affected. Such businesses must incur the cost of updating their machines or risk losing business.
What happens to the old coins?
According to the 2014 budget announcement, the old £1 coins which will be returned will be meltdown and reused to make more new £1 coins. Old coins should be spent before 15th October 2017.