September 28, 2022

Shops to ignore pound coin deadline

2 min read

Trade association says shortage of new coins means they will continue to accept existing version.
Thousands of shops are likely to ignore the Royal Mint’s deadline of Sunday to stop accepting old £1 coins.

A trade organisation representing 170,000 businesses has advised its members to continue taking the coins, because the changeover period with the new coins has been so short.

Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses , said companies had embraced the new £1 as an invaluable way to reduce counterfeiting. Many had modified coin-operated equipment, while others separated out millions of old coins to be melted down.

“But the changeover period has been fairly short,” 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.

“This would provide a useful community service, allowing customers a few weeks to get rid of the final few pound coins in circulation.”

From midnight on Sunday 15 October, the coins will lose their legal tender status. After this date, shops and restaurants should no longer accept them. With a week to go, about 500m are still in circulation.

Poundland said more than 850 of its UK stores would continue accepting the coins until 31 October.

Barry Williams, the discount store chain’s trading director, told the Telegraph it was a “no brainer” to continue to accept the old coins.

“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,” he said.

Advice for retailers on the Royal Mint website says: “You are under no obligation to accept the round £1 coin from your customers and you should not distribute the round £1 coin. Please update your staff on what they need to do.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “We will have received more than 1.2bn round pound coins by the time they cease being legal tender. We have worked with industry for over three years to ensure a smooth transition to the new more secure £1 coin.”

While major banks are encouraging customers to allow enough time to hand in their old coins, they have said they will continue to accept deposits of round £1 coins after 15 October.

The new coin, which resembles the old threepenny bit, entered circulation in March and has security features to thwart criminals.

The production of the new coins followed concern about round pounds being vulnerable to sophisticated counterfeiters. About one in every 30 £1 coins in recent years has been fake.