New coins won’t work in parking meters and vending machines

Millions of 5p and 10p coins could be rejected by parking meters, vending machines and payphones as the Royal Mint rolls out new-sized coins from this month.

Parking meter - New coins won't work in parking meters and vending machines

Parking meters in rural areas could be a particular problem as they cannot be easily changed 


The new coins will be slightly thicker, and customers will be left fumbling through their change to find a coin that will be accepted, since some machines will no longer take the old-style coins while others will reject the new ones.

The new coins were originally meant to be introduced last year, but were delayed because of a campaign from the vending industry. They are a cost-saving exercise for the Government, because the current coins are made of an alloy of copper and nickel, which has become more expensive. The new coins, which the Royal Mint started to produce at the beginning of January, are made of steel.

Jonathan Hilder, head of the Automatic Vending Association, said the delay had allowed the vending industry to prepare for the new coins, but added that there would be issues with accuracy as the machines would no longer be able to judge the coins by weight.

He added that parking meters in rural areas would be a particular problem as these could not be easily changed, meaning that customers would find their money rejected “Once again this will hit the less well off and rural communities,” he said.

Jeff Wilkes, managing director of Solitaire Payphones, said his company estimated that there were 100,000 of its own payphones across the country that would not be able to accept the new coins, although the rest of his company’s payphones had been upgraded.

According to the Government’s own impact assessment of the introduction of the new coins, they will save the Treasury between £7m and £8m a year. However, the cost to industry and local councils of the transition will be around £80m over two years.