As of 2006 this site is no longer being updated. Click here for links to more up-to-date information

Consumer info - Frequently asked questions - How does chip and PIN affect you

Top ten queries


How does chip and PIN affect you

When will chip and PIN affect me?

After Valentine's Day 2006 anyone with a chip and PIN card has had to know their PIN to be sure they could pay. Chip and PIN is the new, more secure way to pay with your debit and credit card. Instead of signing you must now enter a secret four-digit PIN.

If you don't know the PIN on your chip and PIN card you should not expect to be able to sign. You may need to provide an alternative method of payment instead.


The majority of transactions in the UK are now chip and PIN.

Back to top

I am disabled; does chip and PIN affect me?

Chip and PIN provides an additional option to cardholders who may currently have difficulty using signature.

Research conducted by the Chip and PIN Programme with 350 disabled and older cardholders in February 2004 showed that many welcomed chip and PIN as an easier, more convenient and more secure means of paying than by signature. Most of the people interviewed (86%) were happy to use chip and PIN following a trial run.

However, anyone who has a disability and thinks they may have difficulty with chip and PIN (because of their impairment) should talk to their card issuing company who will discuss their options with them, which includes continuing to use cards with signatures or other arrangements which these customers currently have in place. You will not be required to provide medical evidence to support your request.

Back to top

What if the retailer does not accept chip and PIN?

Where the retailer has not upgraded to chip and PIN technology, you will be asked to follow the current card payment process using your signature to confirm the transaction.

Back to top

Can I still pay by cheque now PIN is introduced at the point-of-sale?

Yes. Cheques supported by cheque guarantee card will continue to be a valid form of payment.

Back to top

Do chip and PIN cards still need to be signed on the reverse?

Yes. This is still necessary, as the signature will continue to be used for verification in certain situations (e.g. travelling abroad to a country where chip and PIN is not used / where retailer has not upgraded to chip and PIN / where the card is used as a cheque guarantee card).

Back to top

What does a chip card look like?

Your card will have a "smart" chip. The chip itself is buried inside the card but what you can see is the silver or gold coloured square on the front left-hand side of the card. There will be occasions when the person accepting your card for payment, in the UK and abroad, will not be able to process a PIN transaction and you will be required to sign instead. Your card will therefore retain its magnetic stripe and signature strip on the back.

Back to top

What should I do with my old card(s)?

When you receive your a new card you should cut up and dispose of your old card securely.

Back to top

Are there any changes to the Terms and Condition of card usage?

Any changes will be notified to you by your card issuer.

Back to top

Will it affect the use of cashback with a debit card?

No. The services provided by your card will not change.

Back to top

how are cards I use for business purposes affected by chip and PIN ?

Whether you own your own business, or you are an employee of a large organisation, all plastic cards issued for business should be upgraded to chip and PIN. Such cards are commonly known as commercial, business, company, corporate or purchasing cards and they are generally used to make business-related payments such as paying invoices or to pay for personal expenses. As with all chip and PIN cards, if you travel abroad, your cards will continue to be accepted in all the places they are today.

Back to top

Will I be able to withdraw cash on a card issued by my employer?

That will depend on the policy of your employer.

Back to top

I am blind or partially sighted, how will this affect me?

All PIN pads need to follow the international standards for terminal design. The vast majority will have tactile features including a raised dot on the 5 button. This layout will be familiar to most blind or partially sighted people and should therefore make it easier to use.

In addition, there are two accepted formats for the primary 'function' keys - the 'cancel', 'clear' and 'enter' keys which will be located either vertically to the right of or horizontally below the numeric keys. Where coloured, the the 'cancel' key is red, the 'clear' key is yellow and the 'enter' key is green. Some PIN pads may have supplementary 'function' keys above the numeric keys, but these are not normally for cardholder use.

You are likely to come into contact with a variety of PIN pads wherever you pay by plastic. Some stores will have PIN pads attached to the till via a wire and you will hand your card to the member of staff to be read, whilst other stores will have PIN pads which contain integrated card readers, and you will put your card into the card reader yourself. Many PIN pads are designed to be picked up from their holders, to make it easier and more secure for you to enter your PIN. You may also come across PIN pads which have been built into the shop counter and in restaurants and bars the PIN pads are likely to be wireless so that you can pay whilst sitting at the table. Whatever the case staff should always be able to help you through the process and answer any queries.

You will need to enter the same PIN regardless of the design.

Please remember that no-one except you knows your PIN, and you should never disclose your PIN to anyone, including retail or bank staff. If you have handed over your card to a member of staff, try to remain aware of what is happening to your card. Ask the member of staff to explain the process they are carrying out and contact your card company if you are at all concerned.

Research with blind/visually impaired cardholders in February and September 2004 showed that the vast majority of those interviewed were happy to use chip and PIN having tried it and found it easier and quicker than signing.

However, anyone who has a disability and thinks they may have difficulty with chip and PIN (because of their impairment) should talk to their card issuing company who will discuss their options with them, which includes continuing to use cards with signatures or other arrangements which these customers currently have in place.

Back to top

I have trouble using my hands, how does chip and PIN affect me?

We know that some people may have difficulty with entering PINs, particularly those with conditions like arthritis or cerebral palsy. Anyone who has a disability and thinks they may have difficulty with chip and PIN (because of their impairment) should talk to their card issuing company who will discuss their options with them, which includes continuing to use cards with signatures or other arrangements which these customers currently have in place.

Back to top

I have trouble remembering my PIN; how does chip and PIN affect me?

You can change your PIN to a four-digit number that is easier to remember at a cash point or by calling your card issuing company but make sure that it's a number that nobody else can guess.

We have also produced a guide which contains useful hints and tips for remembering PIN. Find out more:

Remembering your PIN number (PDF)

Anyone who has a disability and thinks they may have difficulty with chip and PIN (because of their impairment) should talk to their card issuing company who will discuss their options with them, which includes continuing to use cards with signatures or other arrangements which these customers currently have in place.

Back to top

I am a wheelchair user; how does chip and PIN affect me?

Many businesses will have a separate PIN pad attached to the till via a wire which allows a wheelchair user to pick up the PIN pad or remove it from its holder and use comfortably and safely.

However, anyone who has a disability and thinks they may have difficulty with chip and PIN (because of their impairment) should talk to their card issuing company who will discuss their options with them, which includes continuing to use cards with signatures or other arrangements which these customers currently have in place.

Back to top

Does chip and PIN change my liability for any fraud committed on my card?

There is no change in liability for the cardholder. Consumers remain fully protected from the cost of card fraud, provided they have not been negligent, as they are fully covered by the Banking Code. And the other good news is that chip and PIN has already made major reductions in two of the most common types of card fraud - lost and stolen and counterfeit, so you're around a third less likely to have been a victim of this type of fraud in 2005 than in 2004 and even less likely in 2006.

Back to top

I am visiting the UK as a tourist or on business and I don't have a chip and PIN card - will I be able to use it in shops?

You don't need to worry. Your cards will still be accepted in UK shops and by other businesses including hotels and restaurants. You will simply be asked to sign, just as before.

Back to top

Are there any exceptions where people can still sign?

There are some important exceptions where signature will always be accepted. These are for:

  • cardholders who have old style cards and are waiting for their new chip and PIN cards;
  • overseas cardholders that have cards that have not been upgraded to chip and PIN
  • disabled cardholders who are unable to use PIN and have requested a chip and signature card
  • for all cardholders in shops which have not upgraded to chip and PIN equipment

Back to top