Northampton has been chosen to pilot fraud-busting smart card technology from the big banks that will signal the end of signatures as a means for verifying identification.
The Association of Payment and Clearing Services (APACS), the banking industry's money transfer consortium, has confirmed it is in talks with council officials in Northampton about the scheme, which is set to run from early next year.
The pilot is the first part of the consortium's plan to ensure that by 2005 all UK credit and debit card transactions are authorised by the consumer keying in their Pin code instead of signing a receipt.
Residents in Northampton will have their existing cards replaced by ones with secure chips.
The retailer will use a card reader to swipe these at the till and the customer will then enter a Pin that is verified by the chip in the card.
Dixons, Esso, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, River Island, Shell, Tesco and Texaco are among retailers which have signed up for the scheme.
A spokesman for APACS confirmed that Northampton has been chosen but would not comment further until details have been finalised.
"Northampton will be the location of the pilot and it will probably involve virtually every card holder in that area and the vast majority of retailers," he said.
APACS estimates that the £1.1bn scheme will cut the UK's annual £411m card fraud losses in half.
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