Belfast Telegraph

Northern Irish spenders told to shed 'round pounds' as deadline looms

Northern Irish consumers have been urged to get rid of their round pound coins with the deadline for spending them falling next month.

Non-departmental government body the Consumer Council - which looks after the interests of consumers in Northern Ireland - has urged the public to spend their pounds coins or exchange them at the bank or post office, or risk not being able to spend them.

From October 15 the coins will no longer be legal tender.

The change in the design of the pound coin is a move aimed at tackling counterfeit coins.

The Royal Mint estimates that one in 30 round £1 coins in circulation are fakes, and has said that the new 12-sided design will make the coins much harder to replicate.

Speaking about the withdrawal Philippa McKeown Brown, the head of consumer empowerment and protection at the consumer council, said: "It’s time to check the piggy-banks and money jars for £1 coins and to either spend them at the shops or exchange them at the bank or Post Office, because as of 15 October 2017 the current round £1 coins will cease to be legal tender and will no longer be accepted."

The new 12-sided coins have been in circulation since March, with the Royal Mint putting around 1.5bn of them into circulation.

It is estimated that the number of new pound coins in circulation surpassed the number of old pound coins in July.

Good news for consumers who find themselves still holding old pound coins after the October deadline - it will still be possible to bring them in and exchange them at the bank.

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