Security not a driver for PIN enabled credit cards

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Opting to use a PIN number for credit card transactions over a signature won’t necessarily improve security nor minimise fraud rates, according to the PEN or PIN project manager.

As of yesterday, credit card holders in Australia were given the choice of using a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to authorise transactions as a second option to the traditional signature authorisation.

However, project organisers have marked the introduction of PIN for credit cards as providing a quicker and convenient way to pay and not as an attempt to increase security.

“The introduction of PIN authorisation on credit and debit card purchases means cardholders no longer have to sign to verify the transaction, helping to speed up transaction times and make the entire process of paying in person more efficient for everyone involved,” said PEN or PIN project manager Simon Greig.

“We’re not attempting to say that its increasing security and customers shouldn’t feel they’re better or worse using this. It would increase it in some instances [but] that is a case by case scenario,” said Greig.

The introduction of PIN on these cards follows an industry-wide collaboration involving all Australian financial institutions and card schemes (Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express) initiated in late 2006.

According to Greig there are already 600 000 devices in process or already available and the the change is not mandatory. Cardholders who do not have PIN enabled cards or who prefer to sign will still be able to authorise transactions using signature.

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