Banks set date for chip and PIN trial as card fraud soars

Banks set date for chip and PIN trial as card fraud soars

UK plastic card fraud reached record highs in 2002 with £424.6 million worth of fraudulent transactions recorded compared to £411.5 million the previous year, according to figures from the Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs).

Counterfeit card fraud is the most prevalent, amounting to £148.5 million in 2002. This was followed by card-not-present fraud which totalled £110.1 million, and lost and stolen cards which accounted for £108.3 million.

London topped the table with by far the most incidents of card fraud in the country, with transactions totalling £95,542,323. Birmingham came in second at £8,030 881 and followed by Manchester with £6,200,361.

Chris Pearson, Chief Executive of Apacs, says: "More than £1 million worth of card fraud is committed every day - that's a fraudulent transaction every eight seconds."

The figures coincide with the trial of chip and PIN technology in Northampton, due to commence in May, where consumers will verify purchases by keying in a four-digit PIN rather than signing a receipt. During the trial, customers will be prompted to use their PIN for one in every two or three transactions, using a range of debit and credit cards.

Around 1000 retailers are participating in the scheme along with high street and Internet banks and card companies including American Express, MasterCard, Switch and Visa.

National roll out of the programme is due in 2005 and will see more than 850,000 retailer terminals, 122 million cards and 40,000 cash machines upgraded with chip and PIN technology.

Pearson says chip and PIN is a turning point in the fight against plastic card crime in the UK: "We're putting in measures which will have a significant impact on this figure, will ensure better safety for UK consumers and will help take away the nightmare of card fraud."

Apacs adds that a similar domestic PIN-based system in France has seen an 80 per cent reduction in fraud since its introduction ten years ago. Most European countries are expected to implement the EMV system over the next five years.

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