Speaking of chip & pin…

Can anyone tell me why it’s more secure for me to key in a four-digit PIN – an easy action to crib over my shoulder – rather than to sign my name – an action that requires considerable practice to imitate convincingly?

I’m just asking.

Surely it can’t have anything to do with the little stack of petrol station chits I collect which I appear to have mistakenly signed ‘Abraham Lincoln.’

On the other hand, there is a simplification involved in the payment process, thanks to all of this; we’ve gone from a system nobody remembered to check, to one nobody remembers. Well, do you know all your cards’ PINs?

10 Comments on "Speaking of chip & pin…"


  1. You’ve fallen into the trap thinking it’s something of benefit to you, the consumer. A quicker, less secure process for getting your money is what it is. And they’ll sell you payment insurance to protect you against this new type of fraud too.
    Just think, I can buy things using my brother’s chip and pin now, that’s great! Err… no, actually, that’s even worse than before.

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  2. As you point out, no one checks signatures.
    And no one remembers PINs. Sorry, Personal PIN Numbers.
    The only solution is to barcode everyone. That’ll stop the terrorists too.

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  3. In my experience, you can hide your keyboard actions sufficiently well (once you’ve gotten over the sheer horror of using *gasp* Something New) that no-one will be able to figure out your PIN.
    And how is using a PIN less secure than using a signature, which is conveniently present on the card itself so once you’ve stolen the card you have access to the ‘password’ in plain text?
    As for not remembering PINs, that’s just whining. Everyone remembers their house address, including post code, not to mention multiple phone numbers. Four more digits shouldn’t be that hard. It does help that around here, we can generally set the PIN to any number we want, so it’s easy to synchronize cards.

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  4. Blast. My response seems to have vanished into a black hole. That’s not what the “Post” button is supposed to do.

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  5. When I posted my response, I couldn’t see it, the entry still said ‘2 comments’. My second post (“blast”, etc.) also wasn’t visible until today.

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  6. There are a few different design ones – some are designed like a flat thing, some with a little shield. It’s dumb, because when I first heard of them, they had a big shield around them (like in France). But now we have these crappy little things which don’t protect you at all. The answer? Just don’t buy anything. And when you do, give them an earful about how crappy the machines are.

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  7. ‘And when you do, give them an earful about how crappy the machines are.’
    Yeah, that’ll do a lot of good when you’re talking to a 17 year old girl who’s only there because she needs the money to pay her mobile phone bill.

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