PIN problems could cause carnage in January Sales

Consumers are still confused about Chip and PIN despite the deadline being just six months away, according to research from PA Consulting.

The study revealed that only 35 per cent of consumers know the PIN numbers for all their cards. This means retailers need to be aware that the handover is likely to cause more problems at the checkout and longer queues.

PA Consulting Chip and PIN expert Alastair Charatan said: 'People are aware of Chip and PIN, but no more than that. With six months to go, that's not good enough.'

Charatan warned retailers that the change is likely to hit them during the January Sales, one of the busiest periods in the retail calendar.

He said: 'Retailers need to think what will happen in January. The queueing impact in the busy sales period - it doesn't take much for it to get out of control. You could easily have problems with one in five or one in ten card transactions - that's going to have a big impact.'

The report said retailers need to increase pressure on banks and card issuers to get consumers up to speed on the changes.

It said stores also need to start preparing policies to deal with customers who do not know, or cannot remember, their PIN numbers. Decisions on acceptable ID alternatives need to be taken now.

Charatan pointed out that the most attractive customers are those with the most cards, and they will be more likely to have problems.