The Treasury is advising all cash-handling retailers and vending machine operators to be prepared for the new pound coin, which comes into circulation during March 2017.
After admitting the existing ones were easy to fake, the government announced its intention to introduce a “highly secure” £1 coin in 2014 and the Royal Mint has been working towards the new coin’s launch next year.
The Treasury wants retailers and others to make sure equipment and other cash-handling processes are ready for the new coin’s arrival. Millions of vending and parking machines will need to be adapted to enable them to accept the new coins.
The process is complicated by the fact that the current £1 coins, which date back to 1983, will continue to be legal tender alongside the new ones until September 2017. The new coins have been introduced because as much as 3% of the current ones are thought to be counterfeit.
Estimates are that around 40% of vending and other cash-receiving machines will require the coin mechanism to be removed and sent away to be upgraded however, newer machines can be updated with a simple software upgrade. Machines will be expected to accept both coins for duration of the six-month changeover.
From Monday 31st October, businesses and other cash-handling bodies are being targeted with a new campaign to help them prepare for the new coin’s arrival.
David Gauke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “The pound as we know it will not be [a]round 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.”
The Royal Mint has already provided vending equipment manufacturers with sample new coins to allow upgrades to be ready in time.
Jonathan Hart, chief executive of the Automatic Vending Association, said he was confident that the nation’s machines would be ready.
“We will continue our work to ensure that members of the vending industry are fully informed and prepared for the changes in order that the transition be as smooth as possible,” he said.