Retailers in Northampton are the first in the UK to introduce a new card fraud-busting system. 

A total of 150,000 people in in the area have been issued with chip and PIN cards and will be asked to key in their 4-digit number personal identification number, instead of signing a receipt when they pay for goods services. 

The trial is the first phase of a nationwide programme to upgrade more than 850,000 retailer terminals, 120 million cards and 40,000 cash machines over the next 18 months, according to Chip and PIN Programme spokesperson, Sandra Quinn.

Quinn added: “We’re learning valuable lessons in Northampton for the national rollout which will tackle UK card fraud head-on, on an unprecedented scale.”

Asda’s customer focus manager in Corby, Bryan Wisker, said: “As well as the obvious security benefits it offers customers, the new system saves them time and hassle. Rather than hanging around to sign their signature - they can now simply PIN and go."

At Safeway’s Kettering store, manager Graham Pye said: “Our customers seem to be quite comfortable with entering a PIN instead of signing their names and people are certainly keen that it foils the fraudsters.”

By the end of June, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons,Tesco, WHSmith and Woolworths will be part of some 1,000 outlets in the Northampton area participating in the scheme.