In Brief

Old £1 coins: confusion reigns as deadline passes but round pounds continue to be accepted

Delay in converting some parking machines could lead to surge in fines

The deadline for people to spend their old £1 coins has now passed yet confusion still reigns as some shops continue to accept them as legal tender while thousands of coin-operated machines are yet to be adapted to take the new coins.

Following Sunday’s midnight deadline, “there was plenty of evidence that retailers and machines were taking a relaxed attitude towards the coin” meaning the round pound will be around a bit longer, says The Guardian.

 Yesterday, John Lewis and Waitrose – both part of the John Lewis Partnership – became the latest retailers to soften their approach when they said their stores were free to accept the old coins until Saturday.

In a statement, John Lewis said: “All our systems and trolleys are ready for the new coin. However, we want to be helpful to our customers and, if they have no alternative ways of paying, we will continue to take old-style coins until the close of trade on 22 October.

They join the likes of Aldi, Iceland and Poundland who have already said they will continue to accept the old pound until the end of the month, while Tesco has extended the deadline one week.

It has also been reported that other major retailers and food chains including Holland & Barrett, Boots, Asda and McDonald’s were still handing the coins back to customers in change after the deadline had passed.

What about machines?

The Guardian has reported that while all Transport for London (TfL) ticket machines have been updated not to accept the old £1, “a few do appear to still be taking them”.

More worryingly, the Daily Telegraph has learned that as many as 5,000 car parking machines across the UK, which serve between 30 and 200 parking spaces each, are still not ready to take the new coins “and some cash-strapped councils are not planning to update machines for five months until February, the date when it will be compulsory for them to undergo annual maintenance”.

The British Parking Association has calculated that such a delay could result in nearly 200,000 extra parking fines issued over the period, or around 1,200 a day.

According to reports in The Independent last week, the BPA had said it was "confident the majority of parking machines are ready or will be ready to accept the new £1 coin" by Sunday's deadline.

A spokesman at coin handling firm Maggi Electronics, which updates machines for parking, vending and entertainment companies, told the Telegraph that the number of calls it was taking from companies quadrupled as “panicked” firms realised they had fallen behind schedule.

Here is what yto do if you still have an old round pound:

Take £1 coins to the bank

If you find an old £1 coin you can trade it in at a bank or building society but this is only a temporary situation and the bank or building society doesn’t have to take your old pounds.

“Following the end of legal tender status, the current round £1 coin can continue to be deposited into a customer’s account, either business or personal, at most high street banks, provided you hold an account with them,” a spokesman for the Royal Mint told the Telegraph. 

“Specific arrangements may vary from bank to bank, including deposit limits. It is recommended that you consult with your bank directly.”

You can’t send old £1 coins to the Bank of England

Unfortunately, once the old £1 coin stopped being legal tender you are no longer able to trade it in at the Bank of England for a new coin. There has been some confusion on this front because you can trade old £5 notes at the Bank of England. But, because the Royal Mint is the sole issuer of coins in the UK the Bank of England won’t accept old coins, only old bank notes.

And the Royal Mint won’t exchange any old coins. So, if you haven't spent those old £1 coins before 16 October, you could now be left with some worthless metal in your wallet.

Check if your £1 coin is valuable

Before you spend those old £1 coins, or take them to the bank, make sure they aren’t particularly valuable. Some rare £1 coins can be worth as much as 19 times their face value.

Changechecker has identified five old £1 coins that you should try and sell rather than exchange or spend due to their value.

The Edinburgh City, Cardiff City,  and London City £1 coins – minted in 2010 and 2011 – sell for up to £15 each. The Scotland Thistle and Crown £1 coin released in 2014 is worth around £5 and the Crowned Shield coin that was released in 1988 sells for up to £6.


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