Card customers urged to switch to PIN now
Don't panic. But make sure you are armed with a PIN as soon as possible.
That's Bendigo Bank's message to cardholders ahead of the official industry wide move to PIN-only transactions from 1 August.
According to the bank's Head of Access & Payments, Michael O'Shea, signatures would be phased out from tomorrow until 18 October, when all payment terminals must remove signature capability.
But he warned people not to be complacent. "While we don't expect problems from day one, once terminals do start to be switched over, people must be ready to use their PIN, otherwise they could be standing there with no way to pay."
Mr O'Shea said the majority of Bendigo Bank's cardholders have heeded the call to use a PIN when making purchases with their debit or credit cards, with only a low percentage yet to do so "We have done an awful lot of communicating to customers over the past couple of months and the response has been really pleasing," Mr O'Shea said.
"We've directly contacted 80,000 customers who have been signing on their card and urged them to switch to PIN.
"Just in the past few weeks, around ten per cent of these people per week have been swapping from signature to PIN, so the message is getting through.
"Whilst there are a percentage of our customers still to do so, experience suggests those last few will be the hardest to convince and we will continue our efforts to get them to switch as soon as possible.
"This is all about making payments safer for customers and Bendigo Bank supports the industry wide initiative to reduce risk in the system."
Mr O'Shea said it was unlikely many merchants or banks would switch off signatures immediately.
"Indications from the retail and hospitality industries are that most are likely to take action in September or even later, but of course that's not everyone - some might go earlier.
"So the message is, if you have a PIN start using it, and if you don't, get one now."
Bendigo Bank customers can obtain a PIN by contacting their branch or phoning 1300 BENDIGO and having their card handy.
(Special 'Signature Permitting' cards will be issued to people with disabilities or impairments preventing them from remembering and using a PIN.)