Paying With Coins?

What are the rules for paying for fines/court orders with coins?

Perhaps you have been miffed because you think is a fine has been issued unfairly. Perhaps you have been tempted to pay it using 1 or 2p coins in order to feel you have got some revenge. But what are your rights in respect of this? How much can you actually pay in coins and are creditors/enforcement agents obliged to accept them?

Search the internet and you will find documented stories such as the gentleman from the Principality being told he was not permitted to discharge his 650.00 debt using just pennies – 4000 at a time! Or indeed the Hampshire lady who used to pay for her ASDA groceries using just £1 and £2 coins that she’d collected during her job operating an ice cream van. Then, following weeks of successfully paying with the coins, she was refused and told to return with paper money instead.

Understandably she was somewhat put out and following a load of publicity ASDA quickly backtracked issuing an apology and a £15 shopping voucher (not in pennies!). In addition, a man from the Midlands tried to pay his parking fines with a bucket full of pennies but was refused.

What are your rights with coins?

Amazingly the British Coinage Act (1971) states that 1p and 2p coins are only legal tender up to the value of 20 pence. However, you can use more coins if the person you’re paying is willing to accept them.

Legally the meaning of ‘legal tender’ is that you can’t be sued for not paying a debt as long as you give the right amount of money in ‘legal tender’. That’s the long and short of it. For the most part, it’s down to the person who pays coming to an agreement with the seller.

Interestingly £1 and £2 coins are legal tender for any amount.

What are the rules?

1 pence coins > up to 20 pence

2 pence coins > up to 20 pence

5 pence coins – up to £5

10 pence coins > up to £5

20 pence coins > up to £10

50 pence coins > up to £10

£1 pound coins > any amount

£2 pound coins > any amount