Thousands of shops are set to continue taking the old design round £1 coins, even after they cease to be legal tender on Sunday.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which represents around 170,000 UK retailers, has advised its members to continue accepting the coins – despite the Royal Mint withdrawing the old-style coins from circulation as of Sunday October 15.
Which? explains how ’round pounds’ can still be used and what your rights are during the changeover.
Will old £1 coins be accepted by retailers?
On 15 October, the round pound coin will be officially replaced with a new 12-sided design. To date, an estimated 1.2 billion of the old £1 coins have been returned to the Royal Mint, but it’s believed around 500 million are still in use.
After the cut-off, shops do not have to accept round pounds, and many will not. But FSB national chairman Mike Cherry suggested that retailers would be providing a ‘useful community service’ by continuing to accept the old coins after this week’s deadline.
He said: ‘While no business is obliged to accept the old coins beyond the deadline, it would help if small firms knew they were allowed a short transition period to collect the old coins if they wish to, and are willing to bank them, but not give out to customers.’
The majority of vending machines, parking meters and automated ticket vendors have been updated to accept the new-style pound coin, but a small number may not be ready in time for the changeover. One week out, Which? has received multiple reports of vending machines and self-service tills that are not yet accepting the new coins.
Do you need to accept old £1 coins?
From Sunday, it’s possible that retailers may still hand you an old £1 coin in change – but you’re not obliged to accept it, as the coin will no longer be considered legal tender.
If a retailer does give you an outdated coin, you’re within your rights to insist on receiving a new 12-sided £1 coin instead.
After the cut-off, old £1 coins can still be traded in at most banks, building societies and post offices, but this option may only be available temporarily. As a result, the Royal Mint has advised consumers to ‘spend, bank or donate’ old £1 coins within the next week.
The new £1 coin
The new 12-sided £1 coin was introduced in March 2017. The coin boasts several anti-counterfeiting features and was heralded by the Royal Mint as ‘the most secure coin in the world’.
The six-month changeover period was described as ‘fairly short’ by the FSB. In response to these complaints, a spokesperson from The Treasury said: ‘We have worked with industry for over three years to ensure a smooth transition to the new more secure £1 coin.’