The long-awaited trial of chip and pin, the UK banking industry’s multibillion-pound anti-fraud initiative, began today (19 May) in Northampton.
Chip and pin requires cardholders to authenticate purchases with a personal identification number (PIN) rather than a signature.
The trial will see more than 850,000 retailer terminals, 122 million cards and 40,000 cash machines upgraded by the end of 2004.
Northampton consumers will be prompted to use their pin for one in every two or three transactions using a range of debit and credit cards.
American Express, Barclaycard, Barclays Bank, the Co-operative Bank, Egg, Girobank Merchant Services, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, MasterCard, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Switch and Visa are all participating in the trial.
Around 1,000 retailers, from large and small shops to petrol stations, pubs, hotels and restaurants, are expected to participate. Large retailers already committed to the trial include All Sports, Asda, the Co-operative Group, JD Sports, and Marks & Spencer.
Retail and banking industry figures said chip and pin will be key to addressing card fraud, which reached a record £424.6m in 2002. The aim is to cut card fraud by half.
The chips on credit and debit cards will meet new global specifications known as EMV (Europay/MasterCard and Visa).