PIN Number Security Is Users’ Responsibility


With only days left until the Chip and PIN deadline on 14 February 2006, when retailers rather than banks will be held liable for any fraudulent transactions, it is still down to card users to ensure their PIN numbers are as secure as possible.

Human error and complacency can often be factors in card fraud. It only takes someone to see your PIN number when you enter it, then if your cards are stolen and one number fits all, they will have access to all your accounts.

Whilst taking measures such as frequently changing PIN numbers and memorising them can be difficult, they should be changed at least once a year. If this is not done they should at least be changed every time a new card is issued.

To ensure PIN number security , credit card users should follow the following advice:


  1. A PIN number is not required for telephone, online or mail order purchases, so never give out your PIN when making these types of transactions.
  2. When choosing a PIN number be sure not to use an obvious or popular sequence of numbers – avoid numbers like 1111 or 1234 or your date of birth.
  3. Never share your PIN number with anyone. If you suspect that someone knows your PIN number, change it immediately or request a new one from your bank.
  4. If you have a joint account, each cardholder should have an individual PIN number.
  5. Avoid writing your PIN number down, but if you have to, never keep it with your card.
  6. If you have more than one card, have separate PIN numbers for each one.
  7. Don’t be afraid to shield the Chip and PIN terminal when you are entering your PIN number.
  8. Check your account details regularly for any suspicious transactions. If you see anything untoward, report it to your bank immediately. Remember, your bank will never ask you for your PIN number.
  9. Change your PIN number(s) at least once a year and every time you are issued with a new card.


A total of 127 million Chip and PIN cards have been issued since the system was launched in 2003. The Chip is a smart card and cannot be skimmed like its predecessor, the magnetic strip card , and combines two-factor authentication which is a lot harder for a fraudster to compromise.

Fraud reduction was the driving force behind the implementation of Chip and PIN and it is now proving very successful. According to The Chip and PIN Programme, there has been a reduction of £36 million in counterfeit, lost or stolen fraud on plastic cards in the six months from January to June 2005 compared with the same period in 2004.

Tensor smart cards are based on the same technology as Chip and PIN cards, and provide unparallelled security for your access control system. Powered by RF technology, they provide a consistent read range, and can be combined with other technologies, such as cashless catering.

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