Confusion appears to be reigning over the withdrawal of the old-style £1 coins, as the Treasury revealed half of all coins being returned are actually the new ones.
While on a visit to one of the UK’s largest coin storage facilities, Vaultex UK Ltd, in Dagenham, Treasury minister Andrew Jones revealed that there was still a long way to go.
He explained: “There has been a fantastic effort from both the public and businesses in returning more than 1 billion old round pounds, and I thank everybody involved in this process so far. But there is still more to do before the October 15 deadline.
“Businesses must remain vigilant when returning coins and ensure old and new coins are organised in separate packaging to make the sorting process quicker and easier.”
Jones also revealed that the Treasury wants cashiers in shops to only give the new-style coin when handing customers change, in a bid to get rid of the old coin.
He said: “We also want cashiers and shopkeepers working at till points, who are truly on the front line of the changeover, to play their part to ensure only new pound coins are given to shoppers in their change.”
From 15 October, the old round coins, which have been in use for three decades, will no longer be used.
Shops and other cash-handling businesses have been warned they must take steps to prepare for the changeover:
check whether they operate equipment that handles the £1 coin.
contact their equipment supplier to find out if they need to make any adaptations or upgrades.
make the necessary changes to their coin handling equipment.
train their staff on the features of the new £1 coin.
make arrangements with their bank or cash in transit provider to return the current £1 coin and new £1 coin in separate packaging.
The new 12-sided coins, created using “cutting edge technology” entered circulation in January 2017 in a bit to cut down on counterfeiting.
In May 2015, a survey by the Royal Mint found that one in 40 (2.55%) of all pound coins were actually fake.