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Banks are trying to dump responsibility for credit and debit card fraud on to customers in a move that could cost families tens better kid care on demand training millions of pounds. They are making changes to small print which will allow them to block compensation to fraud victims from January. Customers could be liable if they use a PIN that can be easily guessed or the bank decides they have been careless and allowed a criminal to see the number at a cash machine. This could involve a bank looking at CCTV footage to see if customers have failed to shield the keypad from passers-by.

Santander’s changes to its terms and conditions mean customers must have a unique four-digit PIN that is used only for its credit and debit cards. It must not be a number that can be easily guessed, such as a year of birth. PIN for a range of services could find any claim against fraud is rejected. The introduction of chip-and-PIN credit and debit cards in 2005, which replaced signatures to authorise purchases, was supposed to kill off card fraud. But following an initial fall, fraud is on the rise again, so banks are looking for new ways to stem their losses.

The new rules even extend to how customers use and secure their mobile phones, with a requirement that they have a password to activate their handsets. Any customer who finds their mobile phone is stolen and then used to access their current account will find the bank can reject any claim for compensation unless it had password protection. The Daily Mail has discovered that HSBC made a similar shift through a raft of back-door changes to its terms and conditions that came into effect in April. Last night card security expert Professor Ross Anderson, of the Cambridge Computer Lab, accused banks of trying to shift the cost of card fraud on to customers. Banks have flip-flopped over the years on whether it’s okay to use the same PIN for multiple accounts.