Guidelines for PIN Transactions

Here are basic guidelines for transactions that use a PIN instead of a signature for authentication.

Assisting Customers Using a PIN for the First Time

Cardholders who are unaccustomed to using a PIN may be apprehensive for the first few times they pay. If using a PIN, remember the golden rule: cardholders must never tell anyone their PIN. Your customers must enter their own PIN. If they ask you to do it for them, explain that it is not secure for you to do so, and show them how to enter the PIN themselves – using “1,2,3,4” as an example.

When Customers Forget Their PIN

Customers can only find out their PIN by contacting their bank. Encourage them to do this, so next time they can use it. Cashiers should consult their managers on how to approach this situation. A PIN entry cannot be overridden unless authorised by a supervisor. Normally, you will want to allow signature transactions as a fallback. However, check signatures carefully and encourage PIN usage whenever possible. You should also be aware that when customers say they can’t remember their PIN, they may not be the rightful cardholder.

Protecting a Customer’s PIN

PIN keypads usually have a built-in shield for privacy. Cardholders should not reveal their PIN to anyone during the transaction. Some keypads have a flexible wire that allows you to pass the pad to the cardholder and they can shield it from view with their body. Be discreet and do not look at customers when they are entering their PIN. Encourage them to shield the PIN keypad with their hand.

Special Arrangements for People with Disabilities

Make sure customers who are confined to wheelchairs or otherwise have difficulties physically reaching the terminal can access it. For example, consider attaching an extension cable to the PIN pad so that it can be handed to the customer if necessary.

If a Cardholder Believes Their PIN Has Been Compromised

If customers believe someone may have seen them entering their PIN, advise them to change their PIN immediately. They can do so by going to a cash machine or contacting their card issuer.

Coping With a Locked PIN

When a cardholder has entered the wrong PIN several times (typically more than 3) in a row, the card becomes temporarily disabled or “locked”. It may still be possible to accept the card with a signature, and the terminal will indicate whether that can be done in each transaction. If not, your customer will need to provide a different form of payment. Advise cardholders whose cards become locked to contact their issuer, or to go to a cash machine where they can use the unlock service. Cards always contain issuer contact information on the reverse.