UK banks and retailers are to conduct a large-scale public trial of the use of PINs (personal identification numbers) at the point of sale in a town to be announced in the spring.
The Association for Payment and Clearing Services (Apacs), the umbrella body for the UK payments industry, says that the trial will be vital in preparing for a full national roll-out of PIN verification for all credit and debit card transactions by 2005. UK consumers currently authorise payments at the point of sale by signing a recipt. The PIN-based system, entailing a mass-market migration to chip cards, is expected to more than halve UK fraud losses, which currently exceed £1 million per day.
Chris Pearson, Apacs chief executive, comments: "Today’s announcement heralds a change which will affect every cardholder in the UK. We are confident that the start of the PIN programme will be remembered as the defining moment in the fight against plastic card crime.”
Over the next two to three years all 100 million UK debit, credit and charge cards will be re-issued with chip and PIN capability. The costs of implementing the PIN programme are estimated to total some £1.1 billion, spread over the next two to three years.
PwC Consulting has been contracted to manage the implementation, which may also involve a role for bank cards in the delivery of a proposed national UK identity scheme. Banks and retailers have been keeping Home Office Ministers briefed on the progress of the fight against plastic card fraud and say they have received strong support in moving towards chip and PIN.