The UK Government and Royal Mint have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the new one-pound coin amongst retailers and other major businesses.
On Monday a new website was launched at http://www.thenewpoundcoin.com, providing businesses with information and materials to help them prepare for the new coin, which comes into circulation in March 2017.
The 12-sided, bimetallic coin will replace the existing pound coin which has been in circulation for 30 years. The old coins will be taken out of circulation during a six-month transition period.
David Gauke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement:
“The pound as we know it will not be 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 current pound coin is being replaced because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. It’s thought that around 45 million counterfeit pound coins – approximately one in 30 – are in circulation across the UK.
Security features of the new coin include a hologram-like image that changes from a ‘£’ symbol to the number ‘1’ when the coin is seen from different angles. It also has micro-lettering and milled edges.
An additional, hidden security feature is also built into the coin to protect it from counterfeiting, but details have not been revealed.
The Government is advising all cash handling businesses to take the following steps before March 2017:
Check whether they operate equipment that handles pound coins.
Contact their equipment supplier to find out if they need to make any adaptations or upgrades.
Make the necessary changes to their coin handling equipment.
Train their staff on the features of the new pound coin.
Make arrangements with their bank or cash in transit provider to return the current pound coin and new pound coin in separate packaging.