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News - 29 January 2005

Credit card Fraud - Are retailers liable?

Many small retailers are confused about who is liable in the event of the fraudulent use of the new Chip and PIN credit cards according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

Consumers continue to be protected from card fraud losses following the Chip and PIN changes - but as of January 1 2005 retailers without the new technology must shoulder the responsibility for card fraud that could have been picked up by the Chip and PIN devices, rather than the card issuer.

Feedback from members of Britain's biggest business organisation suggests that small firms are in the dark about where the liability lies if they rent their terminal from a bank and haven't yet had it upgraded.

Businesses are also confused about who shoulders the risk when a customer forgets their PIN number and wants to sign instead.

Britain's biggest business organisation is determined to set the record straight and is telling its 185,000 members that:

  • Where a retailer rents a terminal from a bank, and through no fault of their own has not yet had it upgraded, they will not be held liable for card fraud,
  •  Where a retailer has a Chip and PIN terminal but a customer asks to sign instead either because they have an old card or have forgotten their pin, the retailer will not be held liable for card fraud as long as they have ensured that the signature on the card and transaction slip match. 

John Walker, FSB Policy Chairman said, "More than a quarter of the credit card terminals in this country, over 200,000 tills have still not been upgraded, so it is not surprising that small firms are concerned about whether they are liable in the event of fraud.

"Retailers are also in the frontline when dealing with customers who cannot remember their PIN.

"In both situations it is vital that there is clarity about where the liability for fraud lies, and the FSB is determined to do its bit to set the record straight."

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