The Treasury is urging firms to make sure they aren’t caught on the back foot by the introduction of a new 12-sided coin, due to come into circulation in March.
When the new £5 note was introduced, there was chaos at some vending and ticket machines, which wouldn’t accept the new format.
Now, the Government is directing firms which handle cash through their business and those which have vending or ticket machines to go to a new website to make sure they are fully prepared.
Firms are being told to familiarise themselves with information at to make sure customers still receive the service they expect even if they are trying to pay with a new coin.
The current round pound coin has been in circulation for three decades, but the Government and the Royal Mint will gradually phase it out in favour of the new version which has 12 sides.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: “The pound as we know it will not be round for much longer.The introduction of this new £1 coin will be a highly significant event and we are working with the Royal Mint to ensure key industries are ready and to ensure a smooth transition.”
Firms are being asked to put in place any measures they need to, including the adapting or upgrading of cash handling equipment to make sure they are ready.
They are also being advised to train staff on the features of the new £1 coin, so it doesn’t come as a surprise when the first customers start to hand over the currency, and so they know how to spot any forgeries.
It could also be necessary to make arrangements to put current and new coins in separate packaging when paying in to the bank.
Royal Mint chief executive Adam Lawrence said it was important bosses familiarised themselves with how the new £1 could affect their business so they can take the appropriate steps they need to in order to be ready for March.
The new coin is being introduced mainly in a bid to prevent forgeries. Currently, there are thought to be around 45 million counterfeit £1 coins in operation. Customers often don’t know they have a forgery until it fails to work in machines when they are trying to pay for parking, for example.
The new coin has highly secure features to make sure it is nigh-on impossible to copy, including a hologram-image which switches from looking like a £ to the number 1 when viewed from a different angle.