Check your change for the ‘most secure coin in the world’, the new 12-sided £1 coin…
With 45 million fake £1 coins out there, the humble ‘round pound’ was due a makeover to give forgers a run for their money – and you can get your hands on the new quid from Tuesday 28th March 2017. But are we ready for it, with its 12 sides, hologram and top secret security feature?
You May Struggle to Spend Them
Travel by train? Brace yourself for long queues at the ticket machines, because 11 of the UK’s 18 rail companies didn’t update them in time for the new £1 coins, say The Telegraph. That includes Southern Rail, Transport for London and Virgin East Coast, who’ll trade your new £1 coins for usable old ones.
The Automatic Vending Association reckons it’ll cost £100 million to convert every vending machine, parking meter, gym locker and supermarket trolley in Britain. But not every business has done it on time – 10% of car parking meters can’t accept the new coins yet and shoppers could have a problem at some self-service checkouts.
Tesco even hit the headlines for unlocking hundreds of thousands of coin operated trolleys, because they couldn’t take the new £1. But everyone from Sainsbury’s and Asda, to Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi say they’re ready.
Today I will deliver a Budget for a resilient economy – starting with a resilient pound coin pic.twitter.com/Ev2IuNpXg4
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) March 19, 2014
But Don’t Run to Your Panic Stations Yet
MasterCard say that £1.1billion of loose change will become worthless. But only because 87% of people they surveyed didn’t know one crucial fact. Get spending or trading in your old ‘round pounds’ before Sunday 15th October 2017, when they become worthless. Until autumn, both £1 coins are accepted, although it’s worth checking the stash in your penny jars or piggy banks.
Missed the deadline? Deposit your old coins at The Post Office or most high street banks, who’ll also accept them. Call your bank to find out more, whether that’s HSBC or Nationwide, Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland or another.
Not Just a Pretty Pound
Looks like the old threepenny bit from the 1970s, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a whole lot more sophisticated. You get two different coloured metals, white and brass, there’s grooves on alternate edges and a semi-hologram image on the front that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’. Not only does it also weigh less than half of the old £1 coin that replaced the note in 1983, but your old ‘round pounds’ will be melted to make the new ones.
The design, a Welsh leek, English rose, Scottish thistle and Northern Irish shamrock emerging from a royal coronet, was conjured up by 15 year old David Pearce – symbolising all four corners of the UK.
If the people who responded to Poundland’s survey had their way, your coin would have looked a whole lot different – 1,200 people wanted Winston Churchill on it, while 200 opted for Star Man David Bowie or classic fish and chips.
But if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can buy a commemorative ‘last round pound’ for a tenner, from The Royal Mint which features Gregory Cameron’s original design – the heraldic beasts representing each of the UK’s home nations.
Expect more to come
It’s all change. Literally. 2017 will also see a new £2 coin, freshly designed 50p and a new plastic £10 note. Your old £5 notes need to be spent before Monday 5th May 2017 – after this, you’ll have to exchange them with the Bank of England in London, by post or in person.
Cover image copyright The Royal Mint, second image copyright George Osborne.