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Top ten queries


What happened on 14 February 2006?

What happened on 14 February 2006?

After Valentine's Day 2006 anyone with a chip and PIN card had to know their PIN to be sure they could pay. Chip and PIN is the new, more secure way to pay with your debit and credit card. Instead of signing you must now enter a secret four-digit PIN.

If you don't know the PIN on your chip and PIN card you should not expect to be able to sign. You may need to provide an alternative method of payment instead.

Chip and PIN should enable more people with disabilities to use plastic cards than before. Recent research showed that the majority of disabled cardholders have welcomed chip and PIN and find it easy to use. The NOP* research found that 82 per cent of disabled cardholders like using chip and PIN and 70 per cent prefer it signing.

However, if you have a disability that prevents you using a PIN alternatives are available. If you haven't done so already speak to your card company now to discuss your options. Most likely this will involve being issued with a chip and signature card that ensures that you will only ever be required to provide a signature. You will not be required to provide medical evidence to support your request.

If you don't know your PIN or you are not sure if your card is a chip and PIN card contact your card company now - they will send you a reminder.

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Are there any exceptions where people will sign after 14 February 2006?

There are some important exceptions where signature will always be accepted. These are:

  • cardholders who have old style cards and are waiting for their new chip and PIN cards;
  • overseas cardholders that have cards that have not been upgraded to chip and PIN
  • disabled cardholders who are unable to use PIN and have requested a chip and signature card
  • for all cardholders in shops which have not upgraded to chip and PIN equipment

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Why the change?

The change is to prevent fraudsters from using our cards by faking our signature.

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What if I have trouble remembering my PIN?

  • If you find your PIN hard to remember, you can change it at most cash machines - just select the 'PIN services' option and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • If you change your PIN, don't use numbers too easily associated with you like part of your telephone number, or your year of birth as they are too easy to guess
  • Remember to find out the PIN on your credit card - as you are less likely to have used it in the past. You can ask your card company to send you a reminder
  • Avoid popular or obvious number sequences like 1234 or 9999 - random combinations of numbers are best and harder for a criminal to guess
  • Some people find it helps to visualise the pattern the numbers make on the keypad as they enter them
  • Try breaking your PIN into two lots of two numbers, for example 5641 might be remembered as fifty-six and forty-one
  • Combining numbers which mean something to you is always a good way of remembering - your youngest child's age (10) with your best friend's house number (23) for example

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What if I am a disabled driver?

If you are a disabled driver who uses a chip and PIN card you should be able to continue to use your card at petrol stations after 14 February. Petrol stations will begin installing mobile PIN pads that will be brought to your car for you to enter your PIN. After the 14 February petrol stations that have not installed the new PIN pads will have procedures in place to enable you to use a signature just as you do today. You might like to check with your local petrol station to see what arrangements they have in place.

If you have any additional disability questions that aren't answered by this site, please contact your card company and if possible, ask to speak to someone who deals specifically with disability issues.

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