Chip and signature – an alternative to PIN
All banks and card issuers offer an alternative option for customers who have difficulty using a PIN. Here we explore chip and signature cards.
New research from Pay Your Way has shown a gap in knowledge around chip and signature cards, and we are now working to raise awareness of these cards to ensure they are readily available to those that need them, and easy to use in everyday life.
What is a chip and signature card?
Chip and signature cards are available as both debit and credit cards. They look identical to chip and PIN cards and can be used in all of the same places – in shops or online.
Unlike a chip and PIN card, the customer is asked to use their signature to authorise the payment, rather than enter their PIN.
Chip and signature cards can be provided to anyone unable to use a chip and PIN card but still able to write their signature. Typically, this may be because they have:
- difficulty using the PIN pad due to dexterity issues;
- difficulty using the PIN pad due to a visual impairment;
- difficulty remembering their PIN; or,
- difficulty with mobility, making it hard to reach a PIN pad.
A chip and PIN card remains the fastest and most secure way of making a card payment. However, chip and signature cardholders get the same level of protection from fraud as any other customer. All innocent victims of card fraud have legal protection to make sure they don’t lose out financially, whether you use a PIN or a signature with your card.
Every PIN terminal is designed to accept chip and signature – customers simply put the card into the PIN terminal and the retailer will be automatically prompted to ask for a signature.
Retailers who take card payments are obliged to accept chip and signature cards. The 2010 Equality Act has reinforced the legal responsibility for all businesses to cater for disabled customers – and this includes accepting a chip and signature card.
Chip and signature cards are not currently accepted at self-service check-out machines in places like supermarkets and petrol stations.
Chip and signature cards can still be used to withdraw cash, in the branch using your signature. You can also use a chip and signature card to get cashback (up to £50), in shops that offer the service. Whilst not everyone with a chip and signature card will be able to use a PIN pad to withdraw cash at a cash machine, some cardholders find this additional option useful. Not all chip and signature cards can be used in this way but your bank will be able to make alternative arrangements for you to access a cash machine using a PIN if you would like this facility.
Pay Your Way has produced a more detailed information leaflet on chip and signature cards, which help you decided if this card is right for you. The leaflet also includes details of other alternative methods of payments, and what to do if you have problems applying for or using a chip and signature card. Read it here:
Pay Your Way has issued a press release outlining details of our campaign to raise awareness of chip and signature cards. The release also includes details of our research and quotes of support from a number of organisations that come into daily contact with people who may benefit from chip and signature cards. Read it here.
If you think you would benefit from having a chip and signature card, simply call or visit your bank.
A number of people who already use chip and signature have told us how it helps with their daily lives. Read John’s story here or watch the video below:
Chip and signature_case study