Vending machine industry will pay dearly for new British coin

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by Björn Schöpe

January 29, 2015 – It has been announced as the safest coin of the world: Great Britain’s forthcoming £1 coin. The only safe thing to say until now is that the industry will face eight-figure costs. Because all machines in the UK which accept coins must be modified: estimated 450,000 vending machines, 100,000 parking machines, 60,000 payphones, and even the shopping trolleys in the supermarkets.
The last time such an effort had to be undertaken was in 2012 when new 5 and 10 pence pieces were introduced. Then, according to the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) the association spent £25 million for adapting all machines. Today it may cost even more, the sum of £50 million was mentioned. The Royal Mint, though, expects the costs to be clearly lower ranging between £15 to £20 million.
Additionally, in 2012 the industry deplored that the requested conversion had to be undertaken at a short notification. This time, however, a longer transition period of three years has been deliberately conceded.
On their website the association welcomes the introduction of a new and safer coin demanding a close cooperation between The Mint, The Treasury, and the industry in order to ensure a shift as smooth as possible.

The new £1 coin is scheduled to be put into circulation in 2017. The coin will have a 12-sided shape like the former 3 pence piece. But, above all, the hightech coin will contain cutting-edge security features. This was imperative because approximately 3 per cent of all £1 coins currently in circulation are considered to be fake.

Vending Times reported on the expected costs.

You can read the AVA’s statement on the AVA website.

Months ago an article in the Independent discussed the costs which are to be faced.

You can read more on the new coin in the CoinsWeekly news archive.

How to distinguish a genuine £1 coin from a fake is explained in detail on the Royal Mint website.