A third of Britons are completely unaware that a new £1 coin is coming into circulation with just one month to go before its launch, research by Mastercard shows.
Fewer than one in five people (17%) realise that the new coin enters circulation on 28 March. And, more worryingly, almost nine in 10 Brits (87%) don’t know when the deadline is to spend their old £1 coins – 15 October 2017.
It means that Brits could stand to lose £1.1bn in unspent £1 coins estimated to be hoarded in piggybanks, jars and drawers if they don’t cash them in, the research found.
On average, people have £15 in £1 coins sitting around at home, with young adults aged 18-24 hoarding the most – £25 typically, the study revealed.
The current £1 coin is being replaced for the first time in over thirty years amid fears it has become too vulnerable to counterfeiters. Approximately one in 30 £1 coins in circulation are fake.
But while 41% of those polled appreciated that the new 12-sided £1 coin is a vital step to beat fraudsters, a large proportion are hostile to its introduction.
More than two in five (41%) oppose the knock-on cost to business such as changes to vending machines and parking meters. One in five (20%) said it will be an inconvenience for people to switch their coins, and 18% think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. Only 10% of Britons welcome the end of the old £1 coin.
Seven in 10 people (69%) have encountered a counterfeit £1 coin at some point. However, the majority (57%) said they would spend a coin they knew was counterfeit – only a third (33%) would report it to the authorities.
“We were shocked to discover just how few people are aware of when the current £1 coin goes out of circulation. Although the new £1 coin is a crucial step towards fighting fraud, cash never offers the same level of protection as using cards or other digital payment offerings. Whether you are buying or selling, where cash is involved there can often be no recourse if the sale goes wrong, whereas Mastercard ensures there’s a route to your money back if you genuinely have been defrauded or not received what you ordered.,” said Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard UK and Ireland.
The survey of 2,000 British adults found that just one in 10 people (12%) feel they are up to speed on the introduction of the new £1 coin and the phase out of the old one.