Retailers are being warned that a lack of clarity about Chip & PIN guidelines could drive disabled customers away.

Customers who have problems entering their PIN numbers into the new-style key pads have the option of using signature-only cards even after the February 14 Chip and PIN deadline has passed.

The National Consumer Council has urged retailers and banks to co-operate to get this message across, noting that some upset customers had left stores without their shopping when challenged by staff.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) public affairs manager James Lowman admitted: “It would not surprise me if some of the people making the transactions were not aware of the exceptions. We have not really focused on the issue around disabled people.”

Spar retailer Steve Kozera from Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, said: “My understanding is that a customer has to produce a letter from their bank and we have one customer who does that. However, it’s not been made clear and should have been sorted by now.”