Banks need to speed up the upgrade of cash machines to combat customers forgetting new PINs, according to retailers involved in the three-month chip and PIN trial in Northampton which ended this week.

The proportion of customers that had to use a signature rather than inputting their PIN at the cash desk was higher than forecast. During the trial more than 200,000 PIN-enabled credit and debit cards were issued and 1,000 outlets accepted the new payment method, designed to prevent fraud.

Nick Mourant, Tesco director, Treasury, said the percentage of customers who could not remember their PIN had been
“slightly higher than expected” at its two stores in the trial.

This puts the onus onto banks to make sure ATMs were upgraded to allow customers to change their PIN to something
more memorable, he said. At the moment consumers can change PINs at their own bank ATMs but not at those of other banks.

By January 1 2005, when retailers become liable for fraud taking place on credit and debit cards, more than 40,000 cash machines will be upgraded.

The vast majority of customers were comfortable with the new technology, Mourant added. However, about 5% had expressed concerns.

“Once you explain why you are doing it most people are very supportive, but there are those that are simply distrustful of technology and tend not to use ATMs.

“They probably just dislike change,” he said.

All Tesco’s tills will be chip-enabled by the end of the year, with keypads to follow in the second quarter of 2004.

Safeway’s estate with be enabled by Christmas, said business systems manager Jeremy Wyman. He said the trial had been smooth.

Next week the Programme Management Organisation, which is co-ordinating chip and PIN, releases a report into consumer views from the trial. A spokeswoman said that banks would be offering tips for remembering PINs when they began introducing new chip cards from this autumn.

Colin Grannell, managing director of Visa UK, said the next challenge to help achieve national roll-out was to ensure all retailers upgraded their payment systems by 2005.

“It’s the middle tier retailers we need to concentrate on as they have been slower to put plans in place. Time is running out and they can’t delay.”
Siân Harrington