Banks are being urged to help more small firms embrace new point-of-sale terminals designed to eradicate credit card fraud.
The new chip and PIN system combats the use of stolen and counterfeit credit cards by requiring customers to tap in a four digit number when paying for their goods. It's currently on trial in Northampton but will be nationwide by 2005.
However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is concern that the many small traders do not realise that the new technology exists. It wants the banks, which typically rent their point-of-sale equipment to small firms, to help raise awareness. Businesses which do not have smart terminals by the start of 2005 will be liable for fraud.
The FSB also concerned at the costs that upgrading could entail and is asking banks to assist businesses which don't currently rent equipment.
In a statement John Walker, policy chairman for the FSB, said: "Businesses that rent their terminals from a bank should be okay but others could face substantial costs upgrading to the new system. In many cases they know nothing about these plans. We are calling on the banks to do more to promote chip and PIN in the coming months."
While welcoming the new technology as a way of combating a serious in-store problem for small firms, the FSB fears that the problem might simply be shifted to another section of traders.
"There is a real danger that as chip and pin takes off, fraudsters will just use the internet and telephone instead," warns Walker. "Chip and PIN are a great leap forward but the banks need to do much more to combat cardholder-not-present fraud."