Code required on credit card purchases

A PIN number will make credit cards more secure.

A PIN number will make credit cards more secure.

Consumers will need PINs, not pens when they're making a credit card purchase from August 1.

Under changes designed to reduce fraud, all major credit card holders will need to remember a four-figure PIN code.

While many people have been making the transition over recent years, it will now be mandatory - signatures will no longer be sufficient.

Visa's country manager for Australia, Vipin Kalra, said the move was part of an industry-wide upgrade of the payment system to chip and PIN technology.

"Chip has already cut counterfeit fraud losses on Australian cards by 44 per cent in the 12 months ending June 2013, and the move to PIN will help close the door on lost and stolen card fraud," Mr Kalra said yesterday.

The change will affect all major card issuers, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club International.

According to the Reserve Bank, Australians made about five billion credit and debit card payments during the 2012-13 financial year, totalling $434 billion.

"Australia is moving closer and closer to a cashless society and PIN codes will protect against fraud in a way that signatures cannot," independent eftpos provider TYRO Payments chief executive Jost Stollmann said.

Despite some inconvenience, retailers had embraced the move, Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

Mr Stollmann expects Australia's 14,000 cafes and restaurants will be most affected by the change because customers will have to leave their seats to pay their bills.

He said while mobile terminals are nothing new, their adoption in restaurants was "lacklustre".

Mr Zimmerman said financial institutions would be communicating the change to their customers, but businesses should also contact their terminal provider should they need to upgrade equipment. AAP