The report on the three month trial of chip and PIN technology in Northampton urges retailers to act without delay to prepare their eftpos systems in time for the national switch to smart cards in 2005.
Chip cards are set to replace magnetic swipe cards in the UK over the next three years so that by 2005, all plastic card transactions at the point of sale could potentially be authorised by a customer keying in a PIN.
David Smith, corporate affairs director at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), says retailers must act now to meet the 2005 deadline when they will become liable for fraud on chip and PIN cards in their stores.
"Time is a crucial factor and allowing enough time for planning, testing, approvals, training and implementation is crucial to success," says Smith.
The study urges retailers to engage hardware and software suppliers early, and to consider the needs of people with disabilities at an early stage.
In Northampton, more than 200,000 credit and debit chip cards were issued in the town, with around 1000 outlets including shops, restaurants, pubs, hotels and petrol stations taking part in the trial.
The research suggests that customers liked the system and were confident with using the technology by their third transaction. Also, tracking research among consumers in July showed that even before the trial had ended 83% were in favour of its introduction.