Just as we were getting over the rollercoaster of emotion that was the new fiver, it’s time to remind ourselves that the new pound coin is only 5 months away!
Coming out at roughly the same time as the new tenner, the new 12-sided pound coin is supposedly the most secure coin in the world, and is thinner, wider and lighter than the current pound. In March, it will be officially launched but current pound coins won’t stop being legal tender until September, so you have plenty of time to use both pound coins at the same time.
There will be a couple of inconveniences though. Here are some things to think about which might have you sighing and moaning for a few months:
It might be worth buying one of those £1 tokens at supermarkets for trolleys. It’s always annoying when you get to the shop to find you’ve got to go and change a note to get a coin for the trolley… the new pound coin is thinner and lighter than the current pound and probably won’t fit in the trolleys at all! Trolleys aren’t the most important thing on the agenda so will probably be one of the last things to be changed. However, to avoid the expense of changing them all, supermarkets might get rid of them altogether.
Retailers are facing a race to get their vending machines user-friendly for the new pound. Modern-day vending machines are so hi-tech that they can identify a fake pound pretty easily, so they’re built to specification. If it can tell a fake pound from a real one, a 12-sided one will just confuse the poor thing. With the added complication of a six-month period of both coins being legal, it might not be until this time next year when vending machines are fully workable with the new pound.
Parking meters up and down the country are already outdated and are not equipped to accept the current pound. This will cause plenty of problems if you rock up with a pocket full of new pounds and can’t actually use any of them! If your parking meter does not accept card payments, keep your eyes peeled for an official payment phone number. Some car parks are signed up to companies that process payments from your card over the phone.
The new pound sparks the end of the Swaziland Lilangeni coin in the UK. The 1 Lilangeni coin was produced with identical specifications to the British pound and was found to work in vending machines, railway ticket machines, parking meters, the lot. As it had a face value of about 5p, people were making a profit selling them for under a pound to Brits who were saving money by using them instead of pounds. This new £1 coin will put an end to the Swazi swapsies.
And if you get a nice shiny 2016 current pound at some point next year, keep hold of it, it might be worth something one day!