The Mystery of Chip and PIN

by on September 19, 2004

The fact that millions of pounds a year are lost to credit card fraud makes the whole “chip and PIN” thing more mysterious by the day. When’s it happening? Why did it happen years ago? How will it be introduced? There seems to be a veil of confusion over it all, but most people seem either not to know nor care about it. Hmm. Well, maybe it’ll all be OK.

But I began to worry when I got a flyer from Barclaycard entitled “Answering your questions about chip and PIN.” It must rank as the single most confusing and self-contradictory piece of customer communication I have ever received.

It starts off oddly:

Q. Can I use my current Barclaycard in the new PIN pads?
A. Yes. However, instead of being asked to key in your PIN you will be asked to 
sign the receipt as you do now.

So, er, is that using the “new PIN pads” or not?

We will be sending you a new chip and PIN Barclaycard within 18 months...

Why? You just said I could use my current card!

Q. When I receive my new chip and PIN Barclaycard, can I use it straight away?
A. Yes - as soon as you've called us to activate it. 

So you mean I can’t use it immediately. And you just said that I can use my current Barclaycard in the new PIN pads…

Aaargh!

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