Chip & Pin FAQs
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What is Chip & Pin?
Chip and PIN is a secure card payment system to help prevent fraud.
The UK banking industry began its rollout of 'smart' chip cards in spring 1999. Where a cardholder has been issued with a chip and PIN card and is present during the transaction, will be authorised by the customer keying in their PIN rather than by signing a receipt.
Using a better method of identifying the cardholder combined with the chip's ability to verify that the card is authorised will drastically improve security and significantly reduce card fraud.
What is chip?
The embedding of a microchip into a debit or credit card to provide highly secure memory and processing capabilities. In addition to holding the same personal data as that on the magnetic stripe (e.g. cardholder name, card number and expiry date), the microchip provides additional security features to safeguard against counterfeiting.
What is PIN?
A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a four-digit code either assigned to, or chosen by a cardholder to help prove that they are the rightful owner (the authorised owner) of a card when making a chip and PIN based transaction. For UK cardholders this code consists of four digits. For foreign cardholders this code may be longer. Cardholders will use the same PIN at point of-sale terminals and at ATMs with each individual card they hold. They may also choose to use the same PIN for all their cards.
What is needed to prevent card fraud?
Card fraud at point of sale is prevented by ensuring the card is genuine and the user is the authorised owner of the card. There is a requirement to tackle two issues. Firstly to establish that the card is the genuine item (chip ensures this) and secondly that the person using the card is the authorised owner (PIN ensures this).
Chip technology uses highly sophisticated processing to identify genuine cards, and makes counterfeiting much more difficult and hugely expensive for criminals. The sophistication of chip technology also provides an excellent foundation for using PIN as the method of identifying cardholders at point of sale.
What are PIN Services?
PIN Services allow you to change your PIN or unlock your PIN.
Banks and the Card Issuers will provide a PIN with your card. This number may not be one that is easy for you to remember. For that reason there will be a facility at many ATM machines to change the PIN on your card. As with cash withdrawals the PIN change service will eventually be available not only to that bank's own cards but also to cards provided by other banks or card issuers. This facility is called "Reciprocal PIN Services" and gives the cardholder the opportunity to operate different cards in different machines.