Coles ditches PINs in payment pilot

Coles ditches PINs in payment pilot

Summary: Coles is currently conducting a pilot to speed up card payments in over 100 of its various retail stores by removing the need for a PIN or signature for payments under $35.


Coles is currently conducting a pilot to speed up card payments in over 100 of its various retail stores by removing the need for a PIN or signature for payments under $35.


(Checkout image by Nate Grigg, CC2.0)

The "Fast Pay" pilot program includes 118 stores across the Coles Supermarkets, K-Mart, Target and Officeworks brands. Under the trial, Coles has simply tweaked the protocols of its payment systems, allowing customers with magnetic stripe cards and chip cards to swipe or insert the card to pay, without verification, for payments under $35. It is not the same as the contactless card system that Woolworths plans to roll out, which Coles' terminals don't support.

Douglas Swansson, head of Payment Services, Finance for Coles, told ZDNet Australia today that the trial doesn't put customer security at risk.

"From our perspective, it doesn't impose additional security concerns over what's out there today. The security is no different than the security we have in place," Swansson said.

The payment head added that any losses resulting from fraudulent transactions is usually covered under Visa, MasterCard and American Express' no liability fraud coverage, meaning that losses incurred by fraudulent payments will be reimbursed.

"Card suppliers are confident it won't create a whole lot of unauthorised transactions," Swansson said, adding that no new payment hardware was installed to handle the trial.

"We're keen to understand how customers react to the service ... we've had quite a lot of positive feedback," Swansson added.

Topics: Security, E-Commerce, Emerging Tech

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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  • I think you can already do this at Macca's. Probably also stops them from being targets of fake eftpos machines!

    Personally, i'm not sure why thye don't just roll out paywave. It works a hell of a lot quicker than even pin-less eftpos.
  • Still only one checkout open in that picture. for a company that makes billions of dollars can't they put a few more check-out operators on instead of risking credit card fraud.
  • Hi Daniel3,
    We used that image from Flickr as it represented a for our story checkout. It's not meant to represent a Coles checkout.

    Sorry if there was any confusion.

    Luke Hopewell
  • How can Douglas Swansson suggest that removing the requirement for a PIN (with nothing to replace it) doesn't put consumer security at risk? The whole idea of a PIN is to prevent people from using mis-appropriated cards.

    Since when do retailers get to decide to remove customer security features? Are they going to be liable for any losses incurred on my card?

    I can envisage scenarios where someone steals a credit card and then spends the entire day making sub-$35 purchases. If you're in a situation where you struggle to buy the basics then it's a rather tempting survival technique.

    I wonder if it'll apply to alcohol purchases, in which case expect muggings to increase...

    The issue of supermarket check out speeds has never been about EFTPOS, it's more to do with not having enough check out aisles operating (as suggested above - despite wherever the stock photo came from). A simple trip to a supermarket will prove this point, you'll be lucky to find half the checkouts active.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • I only use visa for Internet purchases. I guess now it is time to get rid of my VISA card. Why would I continue to hold a VISA debit card. Time to go back to a bank card. At least until they decide to take away the requirement for a PIN on them.
  • I was totally upset yesterday when I could not put my PIN in. How dare COLES take my money with out my Authorisation. I will not shop at COLES again until they rectify this silent misuse of my money.
  • If somehow I lost or dropped my card, anyone could spend with out any authorisation or checking of any sort. TOTALLY WRONG COLES!!! I have given my bank tax file number and secret pins...secret phone contact answers.... even my husband cant ring the bank on my behalf, BUT any robber who uses me card in Coles or Target ... or conected enterprises can use it with no qualms!! Ain't fair! Coles, stop this rot NOW!
  • There are pro's and con's with the new and existing system. Visa's Paywave is an optional service and allows customers who chooses to accept the risks to subscribe to such a payment model. You are all correct to argue that Coles has simply decided to take the decision without consultation with its customers and the community and that will surely have negative repercussions for them in the longer run.

    The other issue I can see is that I do not believe banks are in a position to capture multiple attempts at spending ~$35 during a single day. Banking fraud detection usually triggers for large or suspicious activities but I wouldn't be surprised if increased patterns of small spending today would triggers such a halt on a card.

    Wonder who heads Coles' IT...won't be long before he/she gets some flak is my guess.
    • Big assumption there that this was an IT decision and not a Business decision
  • Well I don't know what they have done with their EFTPOS machines, local one in WA Coles Express I used this morning and I normally do "chip" with PIN. It would not accept my VISA in the chip slot so the girl said I had to use swipe ( a lot more insecure) and she said since they had the new terminals lots of people had "chip" rejected. I will not use them again unless chip option if fixed , so they are losing my petrol business.