The introduction of chip and PIN into the hospitality industry hit another snag this week when it was revealed that most banks do not have the portable terminals for restaurants to use.
The scheme has been widely criticised for being designed only for the retail trade, and the situation now appears to have become farcical.
Iain Nesbitt, proprietor of Colwall Park hotel, bar and restaurant in Malvern, Worcestershire, has been trying to get a mobile terminal from his bank, HSBC. However, it told him that software problems and issues over card security meant it had no date for when a mobile unit might be available.
He told Caterer: "It's been incredibly badly handled by the banks and their spin seems to put the blame on the trade, when it's their own problems that are holding up proper installation. They have been doing a lot of covering up. If you're a chain you can buy your own terminals, but because most independents rent the terminal from the bank, we're totally in their hands."
Connie Penn, chairman of the Hospitality Users Discussion Forum, explained: "As far as we are aware, Barclaycard is the only bank that has portable terminals available. All the others are still struggling with accreditation." She explained that despite some terminals being available through private companies, it was better for smaller merchants to have a bank terminal because the technology is under constant review.
"This way the bank will have to absorb the liability if there are problems with the unit or upgrades are required," Penn added.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 13 January 2005