If you’ve a piggybank or coin jar, watch out – your £1 coins will soon be unspendable

Are you a coin hoarder? If so, this is a huge warning. Empty your piggybanks, upend your coin jars, scrabble behind the sofa and get all your pound coins together – then spend or save ’em before 15 October.

Update Tue 10 October: This blog was first published in February, but the info in it still stands. You’ve now just days to spend your old £1 coins (though a few shops will continue to accept them for a short period even after they stop being legal tender this Sunday). Before you get rid of ’em, you can also check if your old £1 coin’s worth more than £1.

With the new 12-sided £1 coin just having hit the streets, the current round version will stop being legal tender (and so won’t be accepted in shops) on 15 October 2017. After that, if you still have any old £1 coins, you won’t be able to spend them.

Of course, you’ve a few months left yet to sort it. But it’s worth doing it now, as with piggybanks and coin jars it’s all too easy to squirrel money away and forget about it.

Many banks and building societies have told us they will continue to accept the old pound coin even after 15 October. But all those we asked, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds/Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, RBS and Santander, said they’d only do this for their own customers.

New One Pound Coin

So if you’re left holding old pound coins after they stop being legal tender and your bank won’t play ball, opening a new account with a different provider may be the only solution.

In any event, carting a bag of coins to the bank is likely to be a real faff – particularly if there isn’t a branch near where you live. So it’s much better simply to spend or save them now.

If you’re saving for something specific though, don’t feel this warning means you need to abandon your piggybank savings plan. Simply take the pound coins out and replace them with a note or other coins of a similar value – then keep on saving…

What about notes – aren’t they changing too?

That’s right. Here’s a timetable of forthcoming currency changes:

How notes and coins are changing

Date Event
28 March 2017 New ’12-sided’ £1 coin enters circulation
5 May 2017 Old ‘non-polymer’ £5 note withdrawn
15 October 2017 Old £1 coin withdrawn
14 September 2017 New polymer £10 note launched
2020 (Date TBC) New polymer £20 note launched

Should I continue to save in a piggybank?

Here at MoneySavingExpert.com we of course think saving’s a good thing (unless you’ve pricier debts elsewhere, that is).

Piggybanks can be a great way to show children how to save. And they’re often used by adults too – I’ve discovered a surprising number of my colleagues at MSE Towers still use one. Some said they’ve cherished their piggybanks since childhood and wanted to keep them, while others just use them as an easy way to gather change to pay for a pint of milk.

Yet everyone with a piggybank really should consider going the ‘whole hog’ and depositing their savings into a UK-protected bank or building society. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme now protects savers up to £85,000 should a bank or building society go bust, AND savings deposited in a top savings account will also earn interest.

What’s more, top kids’ savings accounts offer rates to compete with their adult counterparts (some regular-saver children’s accounts pay up to 4%). So if your child saves in a piggybank, it’s worth considering if you can extend their financial education by encouraging them to put their money in the bank and make it work.