The new £1 coin is here – but here’s why you shouldn’t trade in your old coins yet
The shiny new £1 coin is here, giving the old 'round pound' the boot. Should you be frantically spending your old coins whilst you still can?
Credit: M. Zhu – Flickr
It might look a bit like a 20p pretending to be a £2 coin, but the new 12-sided pound coin is here to replace the ‘round pound’ whether we like it or not.
The flashy new £1 coin first appeared back in March, and now you only have until 15th October to spend your old quids in stores… or do you? We've done some digging and found that you might not be as pressed for time as your first thought.
So, let us take you through the whos, the whats, the wheres, the whens, the whys and the hows, and explain just what you need to do with your old £1 coins (if anything!).
What’s on this page?
Why did they introduce a new £1 coin?
Credit: Gage Skidmore – Flickr
There are around 45 million fakes of the old £1 coin currently in circulation (that’s one in every 30 coins, in case you're wondering). In other words, you've almost certainly had a fake £1 coin at some point in your life.
The new coin’s unusual 12-sided shape is said to make it more difficult to counterfeit, as will it's ‘hidden security feature' – apparently, the coin contains special material inside that can be detected by payment machines.
So complex is the new coin, that the Government even announced the new pound as the “most secure coin in the world” in the 2014 Budget.
However, despite solving some issues, the new pound coin has caused a few problems too. The change made many coin-operated items unworkable, and there were hundreds of stories of parking meters rejecting people's money.
What to do with your round £1 coins
As the round pound will no longer be legal tender from 15th October, shops will no longer be obliged to accept it as payment. That doesn't mean that they won't, but we'll cover this later.
Savers are being told left, right and centre to spend their cash ASAP, but we say what's the hurry?
You'll still be able to cash it in at banks, building societies, and post offices in exchange for the new coins, even years after the new coin is launched. However most banks, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds/Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, RBS, and Santander have said they will only exchange old pounds for their own customers.
If you find stray a pound in the sofa cushions after the deadline and your bank refuses to exchange them, opening a new account is a long-winded but possible way to get rid of them.
When is the official deadline to spend the old £1 coin?
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From midnight on Sunday 15 October, the old round pounds will lose their legal tender status. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has described the changeover period as “fairly short”, and fear shoppers may be caught out at tills trying to pay with old coins.
It has also been a stressful time for businesses as many supermarket trolleys and rail ticket machines will not be ready in time for the switch over.
A small number of trolleys at Sainsbury's and Tesco convenience and express stores are not accepting new coins but will soon. TfL said 27 machines at London Overground stations do not currently accept new coins, but each station has at least one machine that does.
To date, 1.2 billion old pound coins have been returned, but there are still an estimated 500 million in circulation with less than a week to go until the deadline. Retailers have left shoppers frustrated by continuing to give the round pounds as change, despite the close proximity to the deadline.
One Lidl customer received three old pounds in his change, and told the BBC: “Why aren’t business outlets stopping this?” Another shopper said she used a Tesco branch where machines gave her old coins, and was told by shop staff that she could not swap them.
When do you ACTUALLY need to spend your coins by?
Credit: Karen Bryan – Flickr
FSB national chairman, Mike Cherry, said that while business are under no obligation to accept the old pounds beyond Sunday, they still can:
It would help if small firms knew they were allowed a short transition period to collect the old coins… this would provide a useful community service, allowing customers a few weeks to get rid of the final few pounds in circulation.
Tesco are among the retailers who have promised that their customers will be able to use the round pounds for an extra week, until Sunday 22th October.
A spokeswoman for the supermarket chain said:
We’ve been updating our systems ready for the new pound coins, but to help customers who still have the old coins, we’ll continue to accept round pounds at our tills and self-service machines for an additional week.
More than 850 Poundland stores across the UK will accept old pounds until 31th October. For Barry Williams, the discount shop’s trading director it is a “no brainer” to continue accepting the coins. He said:
Providing an extra convenience for shoppers to lighten their pockets while doing the weekly shop, rather than making a separate trip to the bank or post office, will come as good news.
How to check if an old £1 coin is valuable
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Before you offload your coins, it might be worth having a look amongst your collection for some of the more rare £1 coins that could be worth up to 30 times their value.
There are are 24 different pound coins currently in circulation, and collectors are shelling out a fair few bob for the rarer coins. The introduction of this new quid on the block has made pound coin collecting more popular, and as a result, some of the more limited coins are now flogging for big bucks.
The top five to keep an eye out for would be (in order of value):
- The Edinburgh £1 coin from 2011
- The London £1 coin from 2010
- The Royal Arms £1 coin from 2008
- The Scottish thistle and bluebell £1 coin from 2014
- The Daffodil and Leek £1 coin from 2013
The three UK city coins are pulling in the most return, with the Edinburgh coin fetching as much as £35 per coin and more! If you have the Cardiff coin amongst your spare change, you could get £20 for it, and a tenner for the London coin if it's hiding in your change.
On eBay, you'll be able to find most of the above round pounds up for sale. Whilst they're currently going for a bit less than what's been predicted, it's likely they'll go for more once they're officially out of circulation.
If you can manage to have all 24 £1 coins in your possession, you could be in line for a serious return, as a complete collection will be more valuable when they’re removed from circulation.
In fact, Changechecker.org has even encouraging people not to spend their old £1 coins.
Come 15 October, one thing is for certain, any collector looking to own a £1 coin collection will be paying a premium.
So don’t just spend your £1 coins. Check them. Rather than being worthless come 15th October, they may have even more value to collectors – especially if you own a particularly scarce £1 coin.
To spend or not to spend – that's the million dollar (or £34) question!