Ignorance about accepting credit and debit card payments from disabled drivers has caused confusion and distress on forecourts as crucial information from the Chip and Pin Programme has failed to reach relevant staff on the shop floor.

Disabled drivers have been told by petrol stations around the country that they will not be able to pay with a card unless they can go to the till to key in their pin number – despite an agreement of a solution 10 months ago.

It was agreed that forecourts would operate a system that allows disabled drivers to continue to sign a paper slip without making any special arrangements with their card issuer or petrol station.

But Douglas Campbell, executive director of the Disabled Drivers’ Association, said that many forecourt operators – including supermarket and oil company-owned sites – have been unaware of this solution, with staff assuming that accepting a card from a driver who cannot enter their pin would result in the retailers’ liability for that transaction.

“The Chip and Pin Programme has failed to ensure that staff working in petrol stations know how to deal with this problem – it needs to re-publicise the message,” he said. “It is no good telling the head office of BP or Sainsbury’s, it has to be explained to everyone who may assist a disabled driver to fill up.”

Campbell also expressed concern over the long-term effectiveness of the signature solution. “Chip and Pin needs to find a long-term solution because an understanding of the signature process will become less and less as chip and pin is more established.”

A spokesman for the Chip and Pin Programme, said: “There are no portable terminals certified by the HSE for petrol stations. As long as staff override the prompt that requests a pin so that the card is checked by the bank, liability for the transaction will remain with the bank.”