By Aimee Chanthadavong

Signature authorisations for credit and debit card payments over $100 will soon be phased out with the Industry Security Initiative announcing the PINwise campaign that will expand the use of PIN at point of sale on chip-enabled credit and debit card payments.

Industry Security Initiative, which is made up of a collective of Australia’s major financial institutions and card schemes, believes using a PIN will help strengthen payment security.

“Statistics suggest that card use, not only online but also in-store, has grown significantly over the past decade. More PIN usage is an effort to further protect businesses and their customers from fraud,” said founder of and PINwise spokesperson Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon

While cardholders can still able to sign to authorise a transaction at this time, a future requirement for PIN usage may require all of Australia’s 800,000 payment terminals to undergo a software update to accommodate the change. For most, these costs will be covered by the terminal’s provider.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman has urged business owners not to stress about increasing PIN usage or the costs of updating technology.

“Almost every Australian retailer currently takes PIN at point of sale, few, if any will actually have to put in new equipment. Businesses that prefer to take a payment at table, such as restaurants, pubs and cafes, may need to consider new technology,” he said.

“In this case, most venues rent their terminals and their financial institutions will cover the cost of replacing the equipment. I don’t see any real costs hitting merchants.

“The real change to business for expanding PIN usage will be a behavioural one. Habits at point of sale will require some adjustment and consideration; however, it is a move that will help safeguard against fraud, making cards even safer to use.”

The change, however, will not impact contactless transactions for purchases under $100.

This initiative comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted Visa, Mastercard, American Express and participating financial institutions to coordinate the removal of signatures as a method of authentication in mid-October 2014.

“The Industry Security Initiative is working with relevant trade associations to ensure that PIN usage is not disruptive. This includes early education of affected businesses to ease any changes that may be necessary,” Pedersen-McKinnon said.