from Michael Cruickshank (by e-mail)
Sir; re Chips are down in fraud wars', (The Grocer, November 30, p14). As a trade publication, you only seem to consider the cost to the retailer of chip and pin technology on credit cards in a monetary sense. More important will be the public's view of organisations effectively making it more difficult to indulge their favourite pastime ­ shopping. Consumers do not take inconvenience lightly.
I have seen these systems at work in France causing confusion, delays and confrontation at the checkout. It seems the old, and those just plain low on memory power, find them a nightmare.
Our own experience was one of embarrassment. On trying to pay for petrol with a normal magnetic swipe card we found it was refused, but the petrol was already in the tank. The result was all our cash gone, and care to avoid that store group's outlets for the rest of the trip. On recent trips, it seems the French stores have returned to old-fashioned magnetism.
I predict the same will happen here with customers deserting the first stores to demand PINs. Those stores delaying introduction will gain share in the short term. How much will it cost stores trying to regain once-loyal customers?
Card issuers will also see a shake-out with a smaller number of issuers having greater share because there is a limit to how many numbers even the young and well-educated can be expected to remember.
Having witnessed the verbal kicking my wife was given by the banks for having written down numbers and having the misfortune to have her purse stolen, this will not be an option.
Also, it would be naive to think insurers will not act to protect themselves and potentially render large numbers of the public uninsurable in this area.