Payments Council advises retailers on chip and signature card alternatives

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Payments Council: raising awareness of chip and signature cards among retailers

Payments Council: raising awareness of chip and signature cards among retailers

The Payments Council is raising awareness of chip and signature cards, following a study that demonstrated a widespread knowledge gap over how they work.

The study found more than a quarter (26%) of chip and signature holders who took part in a mystery shopping exercise described themselves as feeling embarrassed or anxious when using their chip and signature card, often due to hold ups caused by the retailer not being aware of how the card worked.

The Payments Council has produced a new free training fact sheet and video for retailers on how to safely accept non-PIN transactions – these are available from the Payments Council by visiting www.paymentscouncil.org.uk.

In addition, the Payments Council said it is working with banks and retailers to raise awareness among staff. The aim is to ensure chip and signature cards are readily available to those that need them, and easy to use in everyday life. The Council is also contacting relevant groups and charities with information about the cards, so that people who are most likely to benefit from chip and signature cards are aware of their existence.

Chip and signature cards can be provided to anyone who has difficulty entering their PIN – this may be due to dexterity issues, visual impairment, memory problems or mobility issues that make it hard to use a PIN terminal, said the Payments Council. The cards don’t look any different to standard chip and PIN cards, but when inserted into a card terminal a signature is automatically requested.

All banks are obliged to offer chip and signature cards and all retailers are obliged to accept them, said the Payments Council. Chip and signature cards are provided by banks as a ‘reasonable adjustment’ to meet the terms of the 2010 Equality Act. This legislation reinforced the legal responsibility for all businesses to cater for disabled customers. There is already an estimated 10.9m disabled people in the UK; and with an ageing population, the number of people suffering from memory or mobility problems or visual impairments is likely to rise, making easy access and use of chip and signature cards increasingly important, the Council added.

A common retailer misconception about accepting a card transaction with a signature is it results in a fraud liability shift, from the bank to the retailer when in fact, as long as the retailer carries out the necessary security checks of both the card and the signature, the retailer benefits from the same high level of fraud liability protection as with any PIN-verified transaction, said the Payments Council.

Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council, said: “Card payments using chip and PIN are now such an integral part of daily life, both for cardholders and retailers, that we hardly even give them a conscious thought. Yet there are many cardholders only using a signature, which is why it’s vital retailers know they can accept chip and signature cards from these customers with confidence. They just need to follow the prompt on their point-of-sale terminal which will advise them to accept a signature.”