Lost and stolen and counterfeit card fraud in the UK has fallen almost 30% in the first six months of 2005, following the nationwide introduction of chip and PIN cards at the point-of-sale.
The figures, released by payments body Apacs, come as the industry prepares the population for a forced upgrade to the new system from Valentine's day 2006. After this date, if shoppers don’t use PIN, their card may be declined and the option of signing can no longer be guaranteed.
This follows a reduction of £36 million in counterfeit and lost and stolen fraud on plastic cards from £126.6m in the first six months of 2004 to £89.9m in the same period in 2005. This represents a fall of 31 per cent in counterfeit card fraud and 27 per cent in lost and stolen card fraud.
Sandra Quinn of the Chip and PIN programme says of the new cut-off deadline: "This is the final phase of the successful chip and PIN roll out. Using chip and PIN has already cut fraud – and now we want to close off even more opportunities for the fraudster.
She says 97% of transactions on chip and PIN debit cards and 89% of transactions on chip and PIN credit cards are already successfully verified by PIN. "This announcement is targeted at the minority of consumers who have chip and PIN cards but are not yet using PIN. There are four months left to ensure they find out, remember and use their PINs."
The Chip and PIN programme is launching a consumer awareness programme to include PR, online information, a customer leaflet and point-of-sale material for shop staff to use. The campaign will encourage cardholders to find out and use their PINs and give tips for memorising number sequences.