Date Published 09 October 2017
Britons are being urged to fish out any old £1 coins from piggy banks and car gloveboxes as the deadline for using the old pound coins fast approaches.
In less than one week the old £1 coins will cease to be legal tender and businesses are no longer obliged to accept them.
But with more than £420m worth of old coins rattling around in coin jars, piggy banks and cars, according to Go Compare Money, consumers are being encouraged to find them and either use, exchange, or bank them before the October 15 deadline, after which only the new 12-sided £1 coins can be spent.
Any unspent £1 coins after 23:59 on October 15 can be traded in at banks, but this is only a temporary option – so it is a good idea to spend or exchange the coins now to avoid not being able to in future.
The Royal Mint said: "We would encourage you to spend, bank or donate your round £1 coins before October 15."
However, some shops around the country may ignore the Royal Mint`s deadline to stop accepting old £1 coins, despite warnings that it could create chaos.
A trade association representing 170,000 small shops has advised its members to continue taking the round £1 coins to provide a `useful community service` to customers. Poundland, the discount store, has also said it will continue to let customers use the old coins to pay for items beyond the cut-off point.
The 12-sided one pound coin entered circulation on March 28, replacing the familiar round £1 coin, which has been in circulation since 1983.
The new coin has been called `the most secure in the world` and there are more than 1.5 billion of them in circulation. About one in 30 of the old round £1 coins in circulation is a counterfeit.
What to do if you are given an old £1 coin
If you`re still being handed back old £1 coins in shops and supermarkets, you have the right to ask the cashier to give you a new £1 coin – if they have any – instead. But businesses don`t have to comply.
A spokesperson for The Royal Mint said: `We have urged businesses and their frontline staff to, where possible, prioritise the new coin when giving customers their change.
"Customers are entitled to ask for their change in any way they wish, but until October 15, businesses can continue to give out the old coin.`
What will happen after October 15?
From 23:59 on October 15, businesses are under no obligation to accept the round £1 coin from customers, so the best thing to do is take any old pound coins to a high street bank, if you have an account with them, or the Post Office.
To ensure you don`t waste a trip, call your bank first to check whether they are accepting the old pound coins.
A spokesman for The Royal Mint said: "Following the ending of legal tender status, the current round £1 coin can continue to be deposited into a customer`s account, either business or personal, at most high street banks, provided that you hold an account with them.
"Specific arrangements may vary from bank to bank, including deposit limits. It is recommended that you consult with your bank directly."
All coin handling equipment, such as vending machines, car park ticket machines, leisure centre lockers, supermarket trolleys and self-service checkouts, should now accept the new £1 coins.