Home and garden retailer Homebase is to implement chip and Pin-compliant point-of-sale systems across its 300 UK stores over the next six months.
The project, based on IBM systems, will make Homebase the first non-grocery retailer to roll out the anti-fraud technology across the all its stores.
Chip and Pin, which aims to cut card fraud by up to 70% by requiring customers to authenticate purchases with a personal identification number rather than signature, is due to be rolled out nationwide by the end of 2004.
From 1 January 2005, retailers without chip and Pin-compliant systems will be liable for all fraudulent transactions instead of the card issuers.
“Homebase is a major supporter of the chip and Pin initiative and we want our customers to be able to take advantage of the added customer service benefits as soon as possible, that's why we are embarking on implementation now rather than in a year's time when the deadline is looming," said Barrie Watkinson, business systems manager at Homebase.
“This is a major initiative that the UK retail and banking industries are undertaking and the transition needs to be as smooth as possible to inspire confidence in the consumer.”
Homebase worked with IBM to devise a means of making it possible for customers to reach the chip-card terminal in an environment where they are often making large, bulky purchases and a fixed terminal on the counter is inconvenient. The companies designed an extendable arm, specifically tailored for Homebase, to make the chip-card terminal more accessible.
The Homebase implementation comes as fears are growing about the readiness of mid-sized UK retailers to upgrade to chip and Pin.
Last week, research revealed that 45% of tier-two retailers are still ignoring plans to roll out the anti-fraud technology, despite the fact that there are only 14 months until the liability moves from the banks to the retailers.