Restaurateurs have been warned that chip and PIN has officially taken over as the only way to pay by card, as the transition period from signature authorisation has now finished.
Since 14 February this year, when chip and PIN became the industry standard for authorisation of payment, proprietors have been able to override their terminal's PIN system and allow a customer to sign for their goods at the company's own risk.
But an HSBC spokesman warned: "The interim period, where signatures could be accepted post 14 February to enable customers to become used to the system has now ended."
He advised any merchants having transitional difficulties to contact their bank relationship manager and/or chip and PIN system provider directly.
Mark Bowerman, the spokesman for the banks' regulatory body, the Association for Payment Clearing Services added: "There are some exceptions where the retailer should still accept a signature."
These included foreign and UK cardholders that have yet to upgrade and disabled customers who are unable to use a PIN.
By Emily Manson