People have just one week remaining to spend their old £1 coins before businesses can refuse to accept them. From 16 October the round £1 coin will no longer be legal tender. It was replaced by a new 12-sided coin earlier this year. People can still deposit the old coins at most high street banks and the Post Office after that date.

Crack down on counterfeiting

1.2 billion coins have so far been returned but an estimated 500 million are still in circulation. The Royal Mint introduced the new £1 coin on 28 March to help crack down on counterfeiting. An estimated one in 30 of the old £1 coins were thought to be fake. The new coin was described as the “most secure coin in the world”. It has a string of anti-counterfeiting details including material inside which can be detected when electronically scanned by machines.

Machines not ready

Businesses have been updating their machines to accept the new coins but some are still unable to take them. Problems have also been reported at some supermarkets with a minority of trolleys unable to accept the new coins. Transport for London said 27 of its machines at London Overground stations do not accept the new coins. However, each of those stations has at least one machine that does take them.

Transition period

Budget retailer Poundland said it would continue to accept the old coins until 31 October. The Federation of Small Businesses has advised its members to continue to accept the old coins for a “transition period” of a couple of weeks.

The Royal Mint said some businesses waited until July to upgrade machines once there were more new pounds in circulation than old ones. Businesses were warned by the Treasury last year that they would need to update their machines. The Royal Mint says all “coin handling equipment should be able to accept the new £1 coin” from 16 October.

Banks are encouraging customers to return old coins as soon as possible and not to wait until they cease to be legal tender. The Post Office said customers could continue to deposit them “until further notice”.

Best get checking down the back of the sofa and in old coat pockets before time runs out!

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