The Treasury has warned shopkeepers that they must prepare for the introduction of a new £1 coin.
The coin, which abandons the traditional circular shape in favour of twelve sides, will come into circulation in March 2017, following the announcement of the change in the 2014 Budget.
The government claims that the coins are significantly harder to forge than those currently in circulation. It is estimated that as many as three in every hundred £1 coins are fakes.
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The new coin’s security features
The new pound coin features ‘micro-lettering’, as well as a “hologram-like image” that changes from a pound symbol to the number one when the coin is moved.
But the process is complicated by the fact that the existing coins will remain in use until September 2017.
This week the Treasury launched a campaign aimed at preparing retailers and vending machine operators for the change. According to the Guardian, around 40 per cent of all UK coin-operated machines will have to be physically upgraded, although newer models will require only a software update.
How cash-handling businesses can prepare
According to the government, cash-handling businesses should take the following steps before March:
- Check whether they operate equipment that handles the £1 coin.
- Contact the supplier to find out whether alterations are needed.
- Make the necessary changes to equipment.
- Train staff on the features of the new coin.
- Make arrangements with banks or cash-in-transit contractors to ensure that current coins and new coins are returned in separate packaging.
Chief secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: “The pound as we know it will not be around for much longer.
“The introduction of this new £1 coin will be a highly significant event and we are working with The Royal Mint to ensure key industries are ready and to ensure a smooth transition.
“The new £1 coin will be the most secure of its kind in the world and its cutting-edge features will present a significant barrier to counterfeiters, reducing the cost to businesses and the taxpayer.”