How the new £1 coin is shaping the future of the UK

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Just in case you’ve not seen, read or heard about the radical changes to the UK £1 coin, the shape is changing! No longer will we see our beloved ‘Round Pound’, but instead we’ll be carrying around a newly-designed 12-sided (do-decagon) £1 coin. As traditionalists in the UK, it’s quite a revelation that the Royal Mint have decided to change the shape, style and colour of the £1 coin – especially since it’s been in circulation since 1983. But why have the Royal Mint decided on such change? And how will it affect industries in the UK?

Why has this change been decided?

At the Budget 2014, the government announced their intentions to introduce a new £1 coin into circulation to supersede the current version that was first introduced in 1983. As one of the oldest British coins in circulation, the fundamental reason behind this move is because the current version of the £1 coins we use today are highly susceptible and vulnerable to counterfeiting. More specifically, though, approximately one in every 30 £1 coins that are currently in circulation aren’t genuine, which consequently comes as a significant cost to UK taxpayers.

How will it affect certain industries?

As expected, some industries are reliant on the use of £1 coins for their coin-operated machines, which means that the new shape could cause problems and/or come at a cost to the organisation. For example, if you visit a supermarket and you need to use a trolley, then you’ll need to insert a £1 coin into the coin slot. However, the coin slot is round, so essentially it will mean that all supermarkets in the UK will have to change the coin slot or opt for a more future-proof method in order to allow shoppers to use trolleys.

In a large part, the above example is possibly the most common issues that will arise once the new £1 coins enter circulation. Ultimately, though, this could come at a cost to the business as they’ll have to re-evaluate how shoppers are able to use a trolley. So with this example, how might this affect other industries?

Leisure

If you’ve been to the gym or leisure centre in your life, you’ll know that the lockers provided to store your belongings whilst you use the facilities contain a coin slot to lock. Now when the new £1 coin enters into circulation, these coin slots will no longer fit the old £1 coin shape.

Public Sector

Again, as a consequence of the new shape, while local councils have embraced the initiative, they’re also responsible for most of the nations parking machines. As such, organisations within the public sector are likely to face unwanted bills since they’ll need to update them so that they accept the new shape £1 coin.

Offices

Everyone loves a little trip to the vending machines for some chocolate to boost sugar levels in the afternoon, but once the new £1 coin is introduced it may not be so simple. The recurring problem here is with coin slots, but because these are generally private owned, it’s likely that it’ll come at a cost to them to have the machines updated.

So what’s the best solution?

Ultimately, the repetitiveness of this process over time could continue indefinitely, so perhaps now is the time to look to more future-proof methods instead. Smart Cards are one such solution that could help to prevent any future problems with coin-operated machines, especially with the wealth of different applications available. Smart cards can have a large number of different uses depending on how they’ve been configured, and what they’re being used for. So for example, if a leisure centre implemented a smart card solution into their premises, then it could be used for access, payments as well as other purposes too. As such, this addition would therefore eradicate the need for coin-operated machines.

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