This PIN @ POS thing; what is it, exactly?

Friday, May 30, 2014

So, you may have heard or read recently about the phase-out of signatures as a form of identity verification when making credit and debit card purchases in stores. This transition is indeed happening, and will be in effect in Australia from the 1st  August, 2014. But what does ‘PIN @ POS’ (or, ‘pin at point of sale’; the name given to this move) mean for you, and why is it happening, exactly? 

All good questions.


First things first, here’s how it might affect you.

For most people, the shift from signatures to PINs won’t have much of an impact - in fact, it’s largely happened already, with research showing that 75% of us already use a PIN when we pay for things in-store. 

Some of us have even progressed so far as to simply ‘tap’ our cards over a merchant terminal and voilà, our purchase has been made (thank you, technology!).  However, for those of us who are dedicated pen wielders, the idea of having to remember another number may not be so attractive. And, for those to which the latter indeed applies, it’s probably a good time to explain exactly why it’s happening, and why it’s mandatory.


Why is PiN @ PoS happening?

We as customers have been able to sign for purchases for the better part of fifty years, and, seemingly, it’s worked just fine until now. ‘Don’t the Banks know,’ is a sentiment I often hear, ‘– if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?’  Well, that’s just it: the current ‘signature method’ has developed cracks that need to be fixed.

Think about it: how closely was your signature validated against your card the last time you signed for a purchase?  Is a quick glance of your signature against your card an effective way to protect your money?  After all, your signature is on your card for all to see.  If you lose your card, a fraudster could simply practice the signature on your card until it is close enough to the original to be accepted by most retailers.

In fact, using your signature is the payment security method most susceptible to fraud.

But, using a PIN greatly helps minimise the risk of fraud on your card if you lose or have your card stolen.  In addition, your PIN transaction is encrypted and sent in real‐time at the point of purchase to your card issuer to be validated.


What can I do to be PinWise?

1)  Order a PIN today!

Don’t wait until August 1 to ditch your pen for a PIN.  If you don’t have a PIN, or have forgotten yours, get in touch with your financial institution to arrange for one - it takes no time at all.  Not only will you be ensuring a smooth transition for yourself when August 1 hits, but you’ll save yourself time when you next make a purchase, while also protecting yourself from fraud!


2)  Personalise your PIN.

If the idea of having to remember another number makes you cringe, you can personalise your PIN.  If you’re a Suncorp Bank customer, you can personalise your PIN at any of our ATMs.  Find your nearest ATM here.

When personalising your PIN, be sure to avoid:

  • repeating characters (like 8888);
  • digits in sequence (like 1234); and
  • publicly available information like your birthday, year of birth, or address.


3)  Secure your PIN.

Just like with any password, do not share your PIN with others.  Avoid writing down your PIN even if you have a hard time remembering it.  This includes saving it on your smartphone!  If you have a hard time remembering your PIN, then make your life easier by personalising it.