Chip and PIN is not getting to 20% of shoppers, who still sign their name on receipts, according to new research from Visa UK.

The research showed that 20% of people said they still prefer to sign because they haven’t yet memorized their PIN numbers, and a further 24% said it was because retail staff did not encourage them to use their PIN, while 5% said they were nervous about the new way to pay.

Visa is urging cardholders to learn their four digit PIN, as after January 2005 if a chip and PIN card is presented at a retailer with an appropriate terminal, it will be at the discretion of the retailer as to whether a signature on a receipt will be accepted as a form of payment if the cardholder does not know their PIN.

Retailers are already asking customers with new cards to pay with chip and PIN, with the intention of making the transition easier at the beginning of next year.

However, if a customer hasn’t been issued a chip and PIN card yet and presents their old magnetic stripe card in a retailer with a chip and PIN terminal, the retailer will allow them to sign just as before, until they receive a new card.

Three in five cardholders now have a new chip and PIN card and it is expected that four out of five cardholders in the UK will have a chip and PIN card by December 2004. Cardholders can use their chip and PIN cards at over 520,000 UK tills.

Greg Twitcher, Head of Market and Payment Services, Visa UK, said: “Chip and PIN is now a reality for three out of five UK cardholders and Visa is urging those with chip and PIN cards to find out just how easy it is to use when they are invited to do so at the checkout. If you are worried about remembering your PIN, you can change it to something you find easier to remember.”