The Chip & PIN Programme has published a checklist for retailers to help them prepare for February 14, 2006. The Valentine’s Day deadline marks the start of the ‘no PIN, no purchase’ clampdown.

The new digital guide outlines best practice guidelines, top tips and frequently asked questions and is available as a free download from

The checklist has been produced to help retailers and other businesses following the announcement that after Valentine’s Day 2006 cardholders must use their PIN to be sure of being able to pay with their Chip & PIN cards. If shoppers don’t use PIN, their card may be declined and the option of signing can no longer be guaranteed.

Cardholders will continue to sign on old-style cards which have not yet been upgraded to Chip & PIN and some disabled customers who cannot use PIN because of an impairment will be using a chip and signature card. All the retailer needs to do is to follow the prompts on their till which will tell them whether a PIN or signature is required.

Sandra Quinn of the Chip & PIN Programme said: “Chip & PIN is driving down fraud committed in store, and by making sure that people with Chip & PIN cards use their PINs wherever and whenever they can, will make life even tougher for the fraudsters.

“We’re committed to making sure that businesses have easy access to accurate information about Chip & PIN. We want retailers to be able to reassure any of their customers that have any questions about using their cards in store now and after February 14 next year.”

The vast majority of people are already successfully using PIN; 97% of transactions on Chip & PIN debit cards and 89% of transactions on Chip & PIN credit cards are already successfully verified by PIN. Advice contained in the new retailer advice guides stresses the importance of encouraging any Chip & PIN customer who isn’t currently using their PIN to start. Retailers are reminded to always ‘dip the chip’ into the terminal and ask for PIN or signature depending on the screen prompts. This is because there are instances where cardholders will continue to sign even after February 14, 2006. These include:

- Purchases in outlets which are not yet using Chip & PIN technology

- Purchases made on cards which have not yet been upgraded to Chip & PIN

- purchases made abroad in countries which have not yet upgraded to Chip & PIN

- Purchases made by visitors to the UK from countries that have not yet rolled out Chip & PIN

- Purchases made by those disabled customers using a chip and signature card instead of a Chip & PIN card and who will always continue to sign

Paul Smith, director of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Our experience shows that most retail staff and customers find using Chip & PIN technology quick and easy. The new retailer guides provide simple, easy to follow advice that will protect businesses and customers from the cost and inconvenience of card fraud.”