Retail Solutions - IT suppliers urged to encourage swift Chip & PIN changeover

In a surprise move, the onus for encouraging Chip and PIN compliance has been placed on IT suppliers by the Project Management Organisation (PMO) in Northampton.

In a report published last week, the PMO called on IT suppliers to take up the cudgels and encourage retail customers to start compliancy projects as soon as possible.

'Suppliers should encourage retailers to consider a move to Chip and PIN without delay to avoid a possible bottleneck,' the report said.

No such request was made to banks or credit card companies. 'This comment is quite odd really,' said PA retail analyst Alastair Charatan. 'The onus should be on banks, because they want this to happen.'

With the deadline for Chip and PIN implementation - January 1, 2005 - less than 16 months away, suppliers are adamant that they alone do not bear the responsibility of impressing the urgency of the situation upon retailers.

'Practically, the vendors will have to do this,' said Hypercom EMEA senior vice president of integrated solutions Milon Veasey. 'But the banks should be bringing this forward on a more scheduled basis.'

Dione marketing manager Steve Green agrees. 'This is a joint responsibility. The banks have driven this - they are big enough to encourage the retailers,' he said.

In response, PMO communications director Steven Sinclair said: 'If there is an impression that it is a call to action to vendors alone, that is wrong. But the vendors occupy a unique place in encouraging retailers to get started.'