During spot checks at 500 retailers across 10 towns in southern England retail supplier Retail Logic found that more than half the businesses were not using Chip and Pin.
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The checks were made after 1 January, when liability for not using Chip and Pin moved over to retailers.
"What was disappointing was the number of familiar high street names that are clearly still some months away from completing their roll outs," said Retail Logic marketing director Mark McMurtrie.
Of the towns researched, Retail Logic found that Farnham topped the readiness list with almost two-thirds of retailers being protected. But of the 159 retailers checked in Guildford, only 68 had Chip and Pin equipment. And in Oxford, only 15 stores visited were found to be operational with Chip and Pin.
The stores visited in each town ranged from small retailers to the largest national chains, operating across a wide range of sectors. These included high-risk areas such as jewellery and electrical goods as well as lower-risk groups like booksellers and furniture shops.
Retail Logic found that overall, small retailers appear to be well-catered for with bank-owned terminals, but that mid-sized retailers remained exposed, along with some larger operations with incomplete installations across their chains.