Consumers, retailers and banks in the Northampton area have branded chip and PIN trials a success.

Some 89% of respondents were in favour of the scheme, which requires customers to key in a PIN number at the till instead of signing a receipt.

Home Office minister for crime reduction and policing, Hazel Blears, said that the majority of plastic card transactions would be chip and PIN by 2005.

“As well as fighting fraud, chip and PIN has also proved to be an efficient, secure and customer-friendly system.”

Meanwhile, industry figures have warned that while chip and PIN will reduce fraud in some areas, it will also open new avenues for criminals to make money out of credit cards.