Chip and pin

Chip and pin technology means consumers have to type in a four-digit pin (personal identification number) rather than sign their name when paying for goods with a credit or debit cards.

The information carried in the chip and pin card makes it far harder for fraudsters to copy, or 'clone', cards. Entering the pin wrongly three times in a row means the card becomes 'locked'.

While locked the chip and pin card becomes temporarily unusable. But unlocking a card is a simple process. Put a 'locked' card into a UK cash machine, enter the pin and choose the 'pin unlock' option in the pin services menu. Those people who cannot remember their pin, need to contact their bank or chip and pin card issuer.

Many British shops and restaurants still let customers sign for goods, but this may not be the case overseas.

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