Waitrose puts Chip and PIN on ice

Closer to home, I was out shopping at the weekend at the local Waitrose (I know, I know, what an exciting life I lead), and noticed that the store still has the covers on its Chip and PIN pads located at its checkouts.

This is no upgrade, as our local store has only been open a short while, so I made some enquiries.

Turns out that Waitrose - part of the John Lewis store chain - has had severe problems with its Chip and PIN system, which it has been progressively rolling out across its store chain in the last few months.

The chain has ended up suspending its Chip and PIN system rollout for technical reasons and has implemented a temporary card processing system to take the strain.

According to VNU.net's reports on the situation, Waitrose will be liable for any fraudulent transactions it processes in the meantime.

The newswire is right there, as I have a crappy old Northern Rock savings account dating from the 1980s which has a Visa debit card attached.

The account is so naff that it makes you wait up to eight days to clear paid-in cheques.

I normally only use it for Internet shopping at those sites where I wouldn't use my credit card. I only keep a float of about 100 quid in the account, for this reason.

I use the card at Waitrose over the weekend and spent £150-odd on groceries (well, it is Christmas) and had just paid a cheque in for £200 that morning at the local Northern Rock branch.

This meant I was technically £50 overdrawn on the account, even though I was still £150 in credit on an uncleared basis, if you see what I mean.

Northern Rock don't deign to give grubby savings account holders like me any overdraft facilities, so the only conclusion I can draw is that Waitrose currently lacks the ability to verify whether cardholders have enough dosh in their accounts.

Of course, I could be mistaken...

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