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Top ten queries


Your PIN

How will I know what my PIN is?

In the same way as today, your card issuer may mail you the PIN for your payment card(s). Where you already have a PIN for your card, your card issuer may send you a re-advice. It will be important to remember the PIN for each of your debit AND credit cards.

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Will I be able to keep the same PIN or choose new ones?

You will be able to keep the same PIN as you have now or change your PIN to a new four digit number at most UK cash machines.

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Will the PIN I use for making purchases be the same as the PIN used for cash withdrawals at the cash machine?

Yes. Each new chip and PIN card will have one PIN that can be used at both cash machines and to make purchases.

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Will PINs be used to make card transactions through the Internet or over the telephone?

No. Chip and PIN is only applicable when you are present at the point-of-sale during the transaction.

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In what cases would cardholders not have to use a PIN?

You will not have to use your PIN in all mail order transactions whether over the telephone, on paper or on the internet. There are no circumstances in which you should reveal your PIN when making a purchase or booking services over the telephone, by mail order or on the internet.

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Who else knows my PIN and who is it safe to reveal my PIN to?

No one except you (not even the card issuing staff) knows your PIN. The PIN must not be disclosed to anyone (including your card issuer, the police and point-of-sale staff etc.). However, if you do think someone has found out your PIN, you must contact your card issuer immediately to have a new PIN issued or change it at a cash machine. Your card issuer will never ask you to disclose your PIN.

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I have been told not to write my PIN down - what can I do?

You could change your PIN to a number that is easier to remember ensuring that you do not use numbers that others could easily guess. You will be able to change your PIN to a more memorable four-digit number at most UK cash machines.

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I will, or may, have trouble remembering my PIN; how will chip and PIN affect me?

You can change your PIN to a four-digit number that is easier to remember at a cash point or by calling your card issuing company but make sure that it's a number that nobody else can guess.

We have also produced a guide which contains useful hints and tips for remembering PIN. Find out more:

Remembering your PIN number (PDF)

Anyone who has a disability and thinks they may have difficulty with chip and PIN (because of their impairment) should talk to their card issuing company who will discuss their options with them, which includes continuing to use cards with signatures or other arrangements which these customers currently have in place.

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What if someone has seen my PIN?

If you suspect someone other than yourself knows your PIN you must contact your card issuer immediately to have a new PIN issued or change it at a cash machine.

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Will criminals be able to access the PIN if it is contained on my card?

No. The PIN is securely encrypted (held in a secure memory) within the chip, meaning that it is extremely difficult and time consuming for a criminal to access the PIN if your card is stolen, and they would be likely to destroy the card in the process.

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What happens if I type the wrong PIN in or forget it?

If you type in the wrong PIN three times, your PIN will become locked for a point-of-sale transaction. You should contact your card issuer to obtain instructions. They will usually ask you to go to a cash machine to unlock the card. When you know your PIN it will work in a cash machine to obtain cash or unlock your PIN etc.

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Can I ask the retailer staff to enter my PIN for me?

No. For security reasons, the PIN must never be disclosed to anyone, even card issuer staff. If you are unable to use a PIN please contact your card issuer to discuss alternative methods.

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What if I forget my PIN when I get to the till?

Provided you have not locked your PIN by entering it incorrectly three times, you should tell the cashier, who will advise you what alternatives are available. If no alternatives are available you will have to use a different card or an alternative payment method.

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How can I add a gratuity in a restaurant?

The terminal will display the amount and may ask if you wish to add a gratuity. Follow the display prompts. When you have added an amount the total amount of the transaction will be displayed and you will be prompted to enter your PIN. By doing so you are accepting the total amount of the transaction.

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If I return goods for a refund, will I need to enter my PIN to receive the money back?

Retailer processes for dealing with refunds may vary. In some cases, you may be asked to enter your PIN.

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If a transaction is pre-authorised - for example when checking into a hotel - will I need to enter my PIN?

Yes. If you are using a chip and PIN card, you will be asked to enter your PIN to accept the 'Check In' transaction.

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What does it mean if my card is locked?

If you enter the wrong PIN three times in a row, your card will be locked so that fraudsters can't keep trying to guess your PIN. Unlocking it is simple - just contact your card company for more information. Or if you remember your PIN later, you can unlock it yourself at a UK cash machine.

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What do I do if my card is locked?

If you enter the wrong PIN three times in a row, your card will be locked so that fraudsters can't keep trying to guess your PIN. Unlocking it is simple - just contact your card company for more information. Or if you remember your PIN later, you can unlock it yourself at a UK cash machine.

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How will I know if my card is a chip and PIN card?

Many cards issued have a "chip" in them, and so you may think you have a chip and PIN card. However, not all of these cards ask you to enter a PIN when you pay. To find out whether it is a chip and PIN card or not, contact your card company. If it is not a chip and PIN card, don't worry. The last remaining Chip and PIN cards are being sent out so you will be receiving yours soon and in the meantime you'll go on signing just as before.

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How do I change my PIN?

You can change your PIN to something you find easy to remember at UK cash machines - just look for the 'PIN services option. Remembering your PIN number (opens in a new browser window)

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