The new 12-sided £1 coin enters circulation today.
To help combat the production of counterfeit money, the new pound coin features a 'hidden high security feature', which the Royal Mint hopes will make its design harder to replicate.
Roughly 1.5 billion new coins have been struck by the Royal Mint so far, with supplies of the coin initially having been delivered to 33 UK banks and post offices. The coins will become widely available over the coming weeks.
Consumers will be able to use old pound coins for a period of six months following the introduction of the new coin. After this transition period, the old one pound coin will be demonetised on 15 October.
The Royal Mint is urging consumers to deposit their old pound coins at their local bank before this date. After this date, retailers will not be obliged to accept old pound coins, and consumers will be required to take their old coins to a bank to exchange them.
Commenting on the introduction of the new coin, Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Royal Mint, said: 'It's been designed to be fit for the future, using security features that aim to safeguard our currency, and currencies around the world, for years to come.'
Further information on the new £1 coin can be found here: www.thenewpoundcoin.com.