The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has warned that the introduction of a new £1 coin in March 2017 could cause disruption and confusion in stores if the changes are not properly communicated to retailers.
It has been confirmed that the new coin will be introduced in March 2017 and that there will be a six-month period of co-circulation, where the current £1 and the new £1 coins will both be in circulation.
The Government has announced that the current £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over 30 years because of its vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. The new 12-sided coin resembles the old ‘threepenny bit’, with the Royal Mint claiming that it will be the world’s most secure coin in circulation.
Levels of counterfeit £1 coins have been as high as 3% in the past few years, equating to around 45 million coins. The new coin will aim to reduce the costs of counterfeits to businesses and the taxpayer.
In a submission to the Treasury’s consultation on replacing the coin earlier this year, ACS raised concerns about consumer confusion in stores during the co-circulation period.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “It is important that retailers are given long enough to prepare for any change in currency, as not having the correct information or lead time to adapt their in-store equipment could lead to delays and confusion in stores.
“When the polymer £5 was introduced earlier this year, only 63% of convenience retailers were prepared for the transition just weeks before the new note was brought in, so it’s essential that the Government has a strategy in place to communicate the changes to the £1 coin effectively.”