After Valentine's Day 2006 you must use your PIN, if prompted, to be sure you can pay with your chip and PIN card. If you don't know the PIN you should not expect the transaction to go ahead. You may need to provide an alternative method of payment instead. For the vast majority of us who are already happily using PIN there's no change.
If you don't know the PIN for any of your chip and PIN cards contact your card company now -they will send you a reminder. And if you're worried about remembering your PINs, there are hints and tips to help you remember here (click through to digi-guide to PIN memory).
Since it's introduction, UK shoppers have taken to chip and PIN with enthusiasm. It has already cut fraud on cards by £36m in the first half of 2005 and as it is quicker than signing it has cut down the time spent queuing at the checkout. More than 180 chip and PIN transactions a second are already verified by PIN - which shows how easily most of us have made the change. Banks and retailers want to encourage all UK shoppers to use the PIN on their chip and PIN cards so we can stop even more criminals using other people's cards.
Most of us now have at least one chip and PIN card and find using a PIN quick and easy.
But if you are one of the few people who has not yet got a chip and PIN card, don't worry. Customers with old-style cards will still be able to sign when using them. The same is true for visitors to the UK from countries that have yet to upgrade to chip and PIN.
Any disabled cardholder who is using an alternative, most likely a chip and signature card, because an impairment prevents them from using PIN will also continue to sign for goods now and in the future. Any disabled cardholder who has a chip and PIN card and is unable to use a PIN should contact their card company now to discuss the most appropriate alternative for them.
And it's worth remembering that even if all of your cards are chip and PIN, you will still be asked to sign for purchases if the shop or business does not yet have chip and PIN equipment.