Consumer groups warn of chip-and-pin 'chaos' at tills

Millions of Britons face chaos at the tills next week as "chip-and-pin" credit card technology becomes compulsory for all transactions. From midnight on Tuesday shoppers using plastic will have to enter a four-digit personal code rather than sign for purchases.

Consumer groups said yesterday that management of the changeover to the new cards was "appalling".

The move comes as a survey by a credit card insurer has found half of Britons cannot remember their pin numbers. An estimated half a million people have not received chip-and-pin cards while 13 million old-style cards are still in circulation.

The National Consumer Council attacked banks and retailers for complacency over the new rules. A spokesman said: "We have been calling for over a year for the new chip-and-pin system to be publicised and nothing has been done. It is an appalling situation."

A spokesman for the Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs), which is responsible for the change, last night denied Apacs had been complacent. He said: "The programme has been heavily communicated to customers and 98.5 per cent of debit card holders are using their pin all the time."

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