Retailers are in a race against time to get chip and PIN terminals up and running after a deadline was set this week for all customers to be using the payment facility by February 14 next year.
Although the majority of retailers claim that they are ready for the deadline, which could see customers turned away at the tills if they don’t use the PIN facilities on their cards, many stores are still preparing to roll out the system.
Waitrose, which started its conversion to chip and PIN in June, said the technology was due to be installed in all of its stores by the end of the year. “We will be ready for the deadline,” a Waitrose spokeswoman insisted.
And Unwins, which is also in the process of rolling out the technology, has vowed to have chip and PIN installed in all of its stores by the end of the first week in November. It has installed new tills in half its outlets, with the remainder due to be completed in three weeks.
The retailer said it hoped the new system would be able to optimise stock levels by minimising the amount kept at the back of the store and ordering automatically as products become scarce.
Jemma Smith, Chip and PIN Programme communications manager, said that the new deadline was simply “business as usual” for retailers. “The decision has been jointly taken by banks and retailers and it was always decided that this would happen when both parties thought customers were ready for it.”
Tesco and Asda both said they would be ready for the deadline. A Tesco spokeswoman added: “We are working with the banks to ensure that neither our customers nor our stores are adversely affected. Customers who still wish to sign for their purchases in Tesco after the deadline will be able to, but they must also recognise that the likelihood of their cards being declined by their bank will increase.”
The Association of Convenience Stores said that it would encourage retailers to comply with chip and PIN as soon as possible, while the British Retail Consortium said the timing was “perfect” for both consumers and retailers.
Earlier this week the Chip and PIN Programme rolled out an ‘I love PIN’ campaign to publicise the deadline. Customers without a chip and PIN card, including foreign customers, or disabled and elderly shoppers who use a chip and signature card, will still be able to sign for goods after the deadline.