Super-secure £1 coins to cause havoc with vending machines and shopping trolleys
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The highly-anticipated new £1 coin has officially entered into circulation, and, despite its many advanced features, is expected to have one or two teething problems as it rolls out across the UK.
The new coin has been described as the most secure in the world and boasts high-tech features, including a hologram, micro lettering around the lower inside rim, and a distinctive 12-sided design.
The production of the new coins follows concerns about round pounds being vulnerable to sophisticated counterfeiters, with as many as one in 30 £1 coins currently in circulation found to be fake.
But shoppers across the country could face confusion in the coming weeks if armed with one of the new coins, as some automated self-service checkouts, ticket machines, snack venders and even shopping trolleys are currently unable to accept the new currency.
Last week it emerged that Tesco shopping trolleys across many of its stores will need to be unlocked as the supermarket giant performs upgrades so that they can accept the new coin.
A Tesco spokesman said last week that “fewer than 200” of its stores will be affected.
Hungry shoppers craving a quick snack could also face problems, as the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) estimates that around 15 per cent of vending machines are currently unable to accept the new coin.
It said that with around half a million vending machines across the UK, ensuring all of them are upgraded is a “major operation”. The body has estimated that all vending machines will be fully upgraded by 15 October 2017 when the round pound coin will cease to be legal tender.
The familiar round £1 pound coins were first launched on 21 April 1983 to replace £1 notes. The Royal Mint has produced more than two billion round pound coins since that time.
The new coins have been made at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales, at a rate of three million per day. They have a gold-coloured outer ring and a silver-coloured inner ring and are based on the design of the old 12-sided threepenny bit, which went out of circulation in 1971.