| Plans for the national rollout of a more secure method of authorising credit and debit card payments were announced today.
The Chip and PIN scheme is designed to make credit and debit card purchases more secure by asking the majority of consumers to enter a four digit PIN code instead of signing to verify card transactions by 2005.
Confirmation of the rollout and release of the plans follow a successful chip and PIN trial in Northampton this summer. The first chip and PIN cards outside Northampton arrive in the UK this month.
The rollout, which is being billed as the biggest UK financial changeover since decimalisation, will happen simultaneously across the country and not region by region.
Card companies estimate that one in five cardholders are expected to have chip and PIN enabled cards by Christmas this year. By spring 2004, half of all UK cardholders will have chip and PIN cards and they will be asked to verify one in three transactions using the new system. By the start of 2005, 90 per cent of the UK's 42 million cardholders should be using chip and PIN enabled cards.