The introduction of the new £1 coin in next year could cause disruption and confusion in stores across the UK if changes are not properly communicated, says the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
The twelve-sided £1 coin will enter circulation from March 2017 when there will be an initial six-month integration period when both old and new coins will be circulation.
The ACS made a submission to the Treasury on replacing the coin earlier this year, raising concerns about consumer confusion in stores during the co-circulation period.
James Lowman, ACS chief executive, 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.”
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 Royal Mint has claimed 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 45m coins. The new coin will aim to reduce the costs of counterfeits to businesses and the taxpayer.
The website http://www.thenewpoundcoin.com/ has been set up to help businesses prepare for the transition.