# Personal identification number when using your debit or credit card.

#### Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
Since there are many tourist here in Iceland I've noticed that the majority of Americans don't know the PIN on their cards since they apparently never have to use it. Which made me think,why?

Americans are used to use automatic machines like a gas pump yet they apparently don't have to punch in their Personal Identity Number to clarify for payment and are flabbergasted when face with this roadblock . Pretty much every tourists from other countries doesn't have this problem... (If you do't see how it can be a problem imagine a 2-3 lane road that has a car crash blocking 1-3 lanes on the autobahn for a minute or two and everybody waiting is in a hurry for some reason while you don't have other places to be or something.......)

How do you guys use an ATM without your PIN? Or is it a place specific thing. Because here you can only use your card for a certain amount via contactless payment at shops and everything else requires your PIN.

This is only partially a rant but mostly I just found it odd that in the U.S (correct me if I'm wrong) anybody could use anybodies card for no matter what amount of money(a bit of embellishment there I'm sure) without knowing the magic number.

#### Glenn Holland

Joined Dec 26, 2014
705
Here in the U.S. credit cards can be used by simply inserting them into a reader and the transaction is completed without requiring any I.D. It's a Devil's Paradise for pick pockets and any other scammer.

#### Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
Here in the U.S. credit cards can be used by simply inserting them into a reader and the transaction is completed without requiring any I.D. It's a Devil's Paradise for pick pockets and any other scammer.
Is that so? I would've never thought it to be the case but the amount of Americans that I've serviced in the last month or two made me suspect as much.

#### BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
What's a credit card PIN?

xox

#### Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
What's a credit card PIN?
What's a computer? Why should the credit card companies bother with PIN since it's "all" insured if your card gets misused or stolen... I even have to use my PIN on my pre-paid credit card no mind the amount.

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
My experience is that a direct Debit card requires a PIN, a Credit card that acts like a Debit card requires a PIN (unusual type of card for certain types of accounts), and a typical Credit card does not require a PIN, but may require your ZIP (postal) code. The latter is most often for the purchase of gasoline and diesel fuel. Also, a Credit card that is not actually swiped or read by machine (e.g., an online or telephone purchase) may require one to enter the 3-digit security code on the back.

Our credit card companies seem to rarely prosecute smaller card thefts. They just credit your account, deny payment to the vendor (typically), and send a new card. I have no experience with Debit card theft. I suspect the added layer of security for fuel purchases is because that is possibly the most common use of stolen cards. Recovery of the merchandise would also be more difficult should that be attempted.

#### WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
In the U.S. (don't know about elsewhere), there are a few distinctions between credit and debit cards. Debit cards can usually (not always) be processed as either credit transaction or a debit transaction. Debit transactions require the use of a PIN while credit transactions are processed just as if it were a credit card and not a debit card (more on that later). In either case the funds come out of the bank account associated with debit card -- you are not being given credit even if you choose to process it that way. For most people the distinction is one without much meaning, but the fees that the merchants pay are different and the rewards that the cardholder gets can sometimes be different. Usually, if there is a difference to the cardholder, you get rewards for credit transactions but not debit transactions.

Credit card transactions can be done two ways with a chipped card -- chip-and-signature or chip-and-PIN. For whatever reason, the U.S. has chosen the chip-and-signature route while most/all of Europe (don't know about the rest of the world) has chosen chip-and-PIN. Practical arguments can be made for and against each option, though personally I would prefer chip-and-PIN.

So, to your question, because we don't use a PIN on credit transactions, no PIN is ever set up. So if we go someplace that requires a PIN, of course we don't know it and, for most people, it comes as a shock because they associate a PIN with debit transactions only and are completely unaware that anyplace else would require a PIN for a credit transaction.

#### ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
13,877
hi,
In the UK, when paying with a Debit card we have to enter our PIN number into the card reader.
If accepted, the money is immediately transferred from my Bank to the Sellers Bank

Using a Credit card to pay, entering my PIN number, means the Seller gets paid and I my Bank Account is Invoiced by the Card provider on an end of monthly payment system.
Using a Credit card as opposed to a Debit card can invoke a 2% surcharge.

If buying online, the Security number on the back of the Credit/Debit card is required, no PIN number.

A word of caution, if you buy a single product online, check that the Seller does not try repeat monthly Invoices on that same purchase.

This has been tried on me twice, reporting the fraudulent invoice to my Payment Provider, has got my money back OK.

E

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#### DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
7,898
In the U.S. and Thailand a PIN was required to use an ATM with either a debit or credit card.

One day in Thailand I accidentally handed my U.S. ATM card to a department store teller instead of the Thai card and just as I was about to say "Hey wait...wrong card" the transaction was completed. My U.S.account was debited for a foreign transaction and was seriously overdrawn. That's how I learned that around here you or anybody else can by things at a retail outlet without a PIN.

One chain of grocery stores took a half measure: The put signs at all cash registers stating that ATM cards would not be accepted unless they are signed on the back...huh?

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,467
All my cards require a PIN to complete a transaction. The problem in the U.S., from what I've read, is that they have too many card readers that would have to be replaced, and that is a costly measure. But I can see that, especially in Texas, cards requiring a PIN are being introduced.

Also, as a security measure, I receive an alarm in real time on my smartphone when my card is charged an amount above $3.00 dlls. #### WBahn Joined Mar 31, 2012 26,398 All my cards require a PIN to complete a transaction. The problem in the U.S., from what I've read, is that they have too many card readers that would have to be replaced, and that is a costly measure. But I can see that, especially in Texas, cards requiring a PIN are being introduced. Also, as a security measure, I receive an alarm in real time on my smartphone when my card is charged an amount above$3.00 dlls.
That's one of the things that makes no sense -- all of the merchants have already had to replace all their card readers to ones that can process chipped cards and the decision to go the chip-and-sign route was made before that. There is no technical reason that I know of that going chip-and-PIN would have cost any more or created any further inconvenience. Furthermore, all of the machines that can process chipped cards already have to be able to process PIN transactions since they already have to do it for debit cards.

But I've recently realized that my understanding of how the chipped cards work must be wrong. I thought that the card provided a digital signature of the transaction authorizing it by using a private key to generate a hash of the transaction string provided by the processing machine. To be useful, this string would have to include the total amount of the transaction. But at stores where there are long transactions (like the grocery store), if I put in the card at the beginning of the transaction then it tells me to remove it long before the last item is scanned, meaning that whatever transaction is taking place involving the chip is not requiring the total cost of the transaction be available in order to complete.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,467
That's one of the things that makes no sense -- all of the merchants have already had to replace all their card readers to ones that can process chipped cards and the decision to go the chip-and-sign route was made before that. There is no technical reason that I know of that going chip-and-PIN would have cost any more or created any further inconvenience. Furthermore, all of the machines that can process chipped cards already have to be able to process PIN transactions since they already have to do it for debit cards.

But I've recently realized that my understanding of how the chipped cards work must be wrong. I thought that the card provided a digital signature of the transaction authorizing it by using a private key to generate a hash of the transaction string provided by the processing machine. To be useful, this string would have to include the total amount of the transaction. But at stores where there are long transactions (like the grocery store), if I put in the card at the beginning of the transaction then it tells me to remove it long before the last item is scanned, meaning that whatever transaction is taking place involving the chip is not requiring the total cost of the transaction be available in order to complete.
Maybe it's using a timestamp to generate the hash?

#### WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
Maybe it's using a timestamp to generate the hash?
It's hard to say what it is doing -- I looked quite a bit for information a couple years ago and couldn't find anything useful.

It seems like a significant and unnecessary weakness to have it to anything other than sign a digest of the transaction, including at least a merchant ID, the amount, and a timestamp.

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,153
My experience is pretty much like already noted: No credit card transaction EVER uses a PIN. I don't even have a PIN for any of my credit cards. Debit card transactions ALWAYS uses a PIN. Credit card transactions above some minimum level require a signature. So sometimes in the grocery store I have to sign, sometimes not. The minimum is set by the retailer. Automated gas pumps forgo the signature but may ask for a zip code.

Online or phone transactions where you don't actually produce the physical card usually want the 3-4 digit "security" code as well. No PIN and no signature.

ApplePay transactions are much safer than cards but still require a signature, which pisses me off.

#### DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
7,898
Counterfeit cards are a large problem, at least in S.E. Asia. I read about people being caught with card cloning equipment and stacks of blank cards all the time. Going to chipped cards was said by the banks to be one way to solve the problem.

#### Kjeldgaard

Joined Apr 7, 2016
456
Here are some thoughts about Payment Cards in Denmark.
I have had cards since 1986 and the newest generation of cards has been issued since 2015.

Paper slip / Signature
Magnetic stripe / Signature
Magnetic stripe / PIN
Chip / PIN
Contactless / PIN (Over a certain amount or after a number of purchases without PIN)
Contactless (small amount)

Yes, I like the fast payment with Contactless feature.

And I was very surprised when I, back in September 2011, was to pay something in the US for the first time, and it was the Magnet Strip alone

#### Ramussons

Joined May 3, 2013
1,096
In India, both Credit and Debit cards need the PIN on a Card Reader.
On a Internet payment, an One Time Password (OTP) needs to be entered, the OTP is received on your Registered Mobile Number.