Arcadia Group is preparing to roll out chip and Pin technology across 1,500 stores in time for the January 2005 compliance deadline.
The parent company of high street clothing outlets Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridges has just achieved chip and Pin accreditation from the banking community and is now embarking on a 10-store trial of the technology aimed at slashing payment card fraud.
Arcadia said that once it had tested the technology in a trial environment it would roll out readers and software across its 1,500 stores and will install the systems in 70 outlets a week to achieve compliance before January 2005.
The group will be using combined systems from BT Expedite and Retail Logic, and said that it had been waiting until more credit and debit cards containing the technology were available until commencing a full roll out.
"There are still relatively few chip and Pin cards out there and if there is any length of time between installing chip and Pin and seeing the first cards, we will face an issue of keeping staff training fresh," explained John Walker, chip and Pin project manager at Arcadia.
The company intends initially to install the technology in stores and areas with higher crime rates, and expects to see a financial return on the investment within 18 months.
"The benefit we get is that if a customer queries a transaction we no longer have to find the slip to prove it," said Walker.
Arcadia is also looking at its e-commerce sites to ensure that criminals do not start targeting the company online through 'card not present' scams.
A large-scale training exercise is already underway to ensure that staff are prepared for chip and Pin when it comes into full effect in 2005.
"From an IT angle chip and Pin is very simple, but the difficulty comes in building awareness among staff and the customer situations they may face," said Walker.
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