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UK Vending Industry Rushes To Convert Machines Before New £1 Coin Begins Circulating In March

Posted On: 11/1/2016

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TAGS: Automatic Vending Association, vending machine, coin acceptance, Britain's New 12-sided coin, new one pound coin, new UK £1 coin, Royal Mint, British round pound

Britain's New 12-sided coin,  new one pound coin

LONDON -- Britain's shiny, 12-sided £1 coin will start circulating in March, gradually replacing the existing "round pound." But the new design, unveiled in 2014, won't fit into vending machines' coin slots, and this has the industry scrambling to convert coin mechanisms in time. And the cost will be no small change.

The Royal Mint is touting the new coin as the most secure in the world. It is styled after the UK's old "threepenny bit" that circulated between 1937 and 1971. The existing gold "round pound" coin replaced the £1 note in 1983.

Several features of the planned coin are designed to deter counterfeiting, including its 12-sided shape, its combination of two differently colored metals and integrated secure identification system (iSIS) technology developed by the Royal Mint. As many as 45 million, or 3%, of the £1 coins now in circulation are said to be counterfeits.

But because of its shape and the different metal composition that gives it a different weight, most existing vending machines cannot accept the new coin. The Automatic Vending Association has estimated that it will cost the industry as much as £32 million ($40 million) to ensure the estimated 500,000 vending machines in the UK are equipped to accept the new coin.

Between the March introduction of the coin and September, when the old coin will stop being legal tender, vending machines will have to accept both the new and old coins.