Bank failures will leave Brits "high and dry" at checkout

01 February 2006
Millions of Britons could be left "high and dry" at the checkout because their banks have not informed them of alternative methods to the chip and pin system.

From Valentine's Day, anyone with a new chip and pin card will no longer be allowed to sign for purchases in establishments that have the new technology in place.

However, those who object to having to remember their four-digit code are able to apply for a chip and signature card, but time is running out for them to do so.

The National Consumer Council (NCC) is urging card issuers to start a "high-profile publicity campaign" to let customers know that these alternatives are available.

"A year ago we urged the banks to launch an information campaign and improve bank staff awareness of the chip and pin alternatives," said Claire Whyley, deputy director of policy at the NCC.

"We are really disappointed that banks haven't taken their responsibilities to vulnerable customers more seriously. Three million people could find themselves high and dry at the checkout."

The NCC has strong concerns for elderly or disabled customers who may find it hard to remember their pin numbers.

Ms Whyley said that the NCC urged banks to provide their customers with information on alternatives last year, but said they had failed to do so.

"We are really disappointed that banks haven't taken their responsibilities to vulnerable customers more seriously. Three million people could find themselves high and dry at the checkout."

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