Tomorrow's new pound coin release – is it a waste of money?

This month the Royal Mint is undertaking its potential last flip of the coin by introducing an updated £1 coin into circulation.

Tomorrow's new pound coin release - is it a waste of money?

With the same shape as the old 12-sided three pence piece or ‘threepenny bit’, its makers claim it will be the most secure coin in the world. The current £1 coin it replaces has been in circulation for over thirty years and is deemed to be vulnerable to ever more sophisticated counterfeiters. But how long will we be using this coin? The UK is swiftly moving towards a new cultural phenomenon – the cashless society.  

In the UK, payments are generally made using the plastic in our wallet and increasingly, our mobile phones. £288m was spent through mobile contactless payments in the UK in 2016 with 38 million transactions carried out across the year. This was a 247 per cent increase on the year before, with the most notable lift being from payments made via Android Pay.   Pubs, bars and restaurants, the places perhaps most likely to be an outlet to spend the cash burning a hole in our pockets, actually made up 20 per cent of all mobile contactless payments it processed. ‘Meal deal’ hotspots for workers buying lunch – such as supermarkets and grocery stores – accounted for 54 per cent.  

The popularity of mobile and contactless payments clearly demonstrates the acceptance of change when it comes to payments in the UK. The current, or old pound coin, has been in our pockets for more than thirty years. I predict a much shorter lifespan for this new coin which I anticipate will be nothing more than a collector’s item in less than ten years.