Pound for pound

March sees the introduction of the new £1 coin. So far so good. But by Mid-October this year the old circular £1 coins will be withdrawn from circulation. Are you ready? 

A new 12-sided £1 coin is set to be introduced in March this year. The old £1 coins have been around for 30 years or so and the number of fake or counterfeit £1 coins which are in circulation in the UK has been steadily increasing. The Royal Mint estimates that around one out of every thirty £1 coins is fake. This has a knock-on effect on Gibraltar.

Enhanced security features

The new £1 coin has a number of features which will make it much more difficult for the counterfeiters to copy. It is made of two different metals: nickel-brass around the outer ring and silver nickel-plated alloy on the inner ring part of the coin; there are milled edges on alternates sides of each coin and micro lettering has been used around the edges. There is also a secret security feature which is only known by the Royal Mint itself. It will be regarded as one of the most secure coins in circulation.

For Gibraltar’s retailers and banks though, the withdrawal of the old circular £1 coin may prove to be a challenge. According to the latest government accounts the value of all Gibraltar currency coins in circulation was valued at £11.72m for the year ending 31st March 2015. Of this, just over half (£6.66m) was made up of £1 coins. That’s a lot of shrapnel to withdraw in just 6 months!

Parking meters and vending machines Operators of fruit machines, parking ticket machines, vending machines and other machines accepting coins as payment need to contact their equipment supplier, if they have not already done so, and ask what software and other updates they need so that their machines can accept the new coin. After October, they also need to ensure that the machines stop accepting the old coins as payment.

Preparing for the new £1 coin

• The new coin will be introduced into circulation on 28th March 2017

• Train your staff on the features of the new £1 coin

• Assess whether you need to change any cash handling procedures such as counting, storing and banking.

Co-circulation period

Both old and new £1 coins will be circulating for a period of 6 months but by the 16th October the old £1 coins will be withdrawn from circulation. It may be worth keeping old and new £1 coins separate when bagging them up for deposits although banks will accept mixed bags during the co-circulation period. After this October deadline the banks may refuse to accept the old £1 coins.

Withdrawal Period

Local banks Natwest and the Gibraltar International Bank will continue to accept £1 coins until the final date of withdrawal in October. This has not yet been confirmed locally. However, traders as well as other businesses are under no obligation to accept the old £1 coins from 16th October onwards. Traders should also stop circulating the old coins from this date as well.

The Royal Mint has a useful website (www. thenewpoundcoin.com) which gives information on the new coin and how to prepare for it.

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