Pin day: advice from Which?Advice to help you adjust to chip and pin smoothly

14 February 2006

Nearly half of credit and debit cardholders are playing into the hands of fraudsters by writing down their Pin numbers, a new survey reveals.

From midnight tonight, the vast majority of credit and debit cardholders will have to know their Pin number to be sure of paying with their chip and Pin cards. The move is a bid to curb card fraud. But a survey from internet bank Egg shows that consumers are still taking huge risks when it comes to card security.

Around 15 per cent of people admitted carrying a written note of their Pin around with them in their wallet, despite the fact that this makes them particularly vulnerable to fraud if their wallet is stolen. A further 25 per cent said they'd written their number down somewhere at home, while 12 per cent kept a record of their Pin on their mobile phone.

Other people had copies of their number in their car, at work, on their computer or in their coat.

Don't write down your Pin

Which? finance expert Mike Naylor said: 'Our advice for consumers is to never write down your Pin number, and never tell anyone else what it is. If you do either of these, you could be liable if someone gets hold of your card and Pin and uses them fraudulently.

'Under the Banking Code - the voluntary code that most banks and card providers have signed up to - the most you'll ever have to pay if someone steals and uses your card is GBP 50 and in most cases you don't have to pay anything. But this applies only if you've taken reasonable care to protect your card and Pin number; writing down your Pin number means you could lose this valuable protection and end up giving your money away to a fraudster.

'It's best practice not to use an obvious number such as your birthday as your Pin, and also not to use the same Pin for all your cards if you can possibly avoid it. This is because it makes it easier for a fraudster to guess your Pin, and if you fall victim, banks may interpret the wording of the code in different ways on these issues.'

Some will still sign

Although most people will now need to know their Pin number if they want to use their chip and Pin cards, there are some people who will still be able to sign for purchases.

These include consumers still waiting to be upgraded to chip and Pin cards, cardholders who have been issued with chip and signature cards because of a disability, and visitors from countries where banks haven't yet rolled out chip and Pin.

In addition, cardholders will also be able to sign in shops and outlets that have not yet upgraded to chip and Pin.

There's further information on the industry's dedicated chip and Pin website.