As of 2006 this site is no longer being updated.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

Top ten queries

Why chip and PIN is the best solution

Before selecting the chip and PIN solution, other technology options were investigated. For example, putting identification photographs on cards had been considered as an additional security method, but this would be costly and would still rely on the shop assistant checking the photograph properly. With the introduction of PIN, the card issuing industry is shifting the responsibility of identifying the cardholder away from point-of-sale staff by relying on technology-based methods to help prevent fraud.

Other biometric solutions were also considered. Fingerprint and iris scanning as well as voice recognition and dynamic signature have all been promoted as possibilities. However, due to the sheer volume of card transactions taken every day in the UK, such technology is not sufficiently reliable or cost-effective to meet the requirements of the UK card industry over the next ten years. PIN will therefore be used to identify cardholders for the foreseeable future.

A Global initiative

The Chip and PIN Programme is part of a worldwide initiative. Fraud on cards is a global problem and the UK is one of the first to put chip and PIN in place. The system is proven, and in France a similar PIN system has seen an 80 per cent reduction in fraud since its introduction over ten years ago.