Universal PIN for Credit Cards!

Last night I went to get a pizza.  When paying it, I asked the cashier if they would take debit card. “Sure.”  So I handed the debit card over, and the cashier ran it through the terminal.  “Oh, it’s not taking it.”  Of course it didn’t – they didn’t have a PIN pad.  They, of course, meant to say that they accept check cards (with a Visa/MC logo), not debit (aka ATM) cards.

Few of years ago I had a check card, and I also occasionally used it to purchase something on the web.  At some point some local business double-swiped the card creating a physical copy of the card.  Over next week or so some $1,500 disappeared from the attached bank account, used at various restaurants and spas around the metro area I live in.  I filed a police report and the bank returned the money fairly quickly and issued a new card with a new number.

About six months later either some outfit on the web leaked the card number, or the number got stolen from someone’s system.  The result: over $5,000 went missing over couple of days before I caught it.  This time mostly spent for various adult entertainment and tech purchases around Central Europe.  I reported the activity to the bank, and their “zero-liability” answer was along the lines: “we’ll need to investigate..”  =:-o

The bank did return the money about a week later, but this experience was enough for me to close the check card and revert to debit card only (at least it works in most grocery stores, gas-stations, and at Sonic :)). Surprisingly, even though PIN-based transactions are clearly at anyone’s reach, they haven’t become more popular.  Perhaps they cost more money (?) for the merchant and/or the credit card company, but surely making PIN-terminals more commonplace can’t cost as much as the money lost in fraud without them! Anyone can forge a signature. Sure it’s a crime, but that’s why they’re called criminals.

Maybe users users would not like to use a PIN, so why not make it optional? When getting a new check card, the card holder would have the option to allow the card used only for transactions where PIN has been entered.

There must be some reason for why this isn’t being offered, right? Technically difficult? Costly? Does anyone know?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.