The UK treasury is set to roll out a new £1 coin in late March which it claims is the most resistant to counterfeiting ever produced.
The new 12-sided £1 coin, the first new version to be produced in over 30 years, has a number of new security features including a hologram or latent image that changes from a '1' to a '£' when seen from different angles.
Other security features include a bimetallic structure, the use of microlettering and a so-called hidden high-security feature built in to the coin to protect it from counterfeiting.
It is estimated that counterfeting costs UK business millions of pounds every year. In 2014, more than £8 million worth of fake banknotes and coins were removed from circulation. The Treasury also believes that one in 30 £1 coins in circulation are counterfeit.
The Bank of England has recently tried to address counterfeit notes by introducing a new £5 note but it was widely criticised for using animal polymers.
The new £1 coin has been a long time in production. A final design was approved back in March 2015. All of this development comes at a time when alternative payment methods and virtual currencies are more popular than ever with consumers. However, coins and bank notes are still widely used on UK high streets. It is also estimated that more than 400,000 £1 coins are currently stored in jars and piggy banks in UK homes.
The UK Mint will produce 1.5 billion of the new coins and they will enter circulation on March 28th. The current coins will continue to be accepted as legal tender until October 15th 2017.