Debit cards get another layer of security

Debit cards get another layer of security

Punching your ATM PIN after swiping your debit card at point-of-sale becomes mandatory.

Beginning December 1,2013,if you don’t punch in your ATM or credit card PIN in the point-of-sale terminal at the merchant establishments then your transaction is liable to be declined by the bank. The Reserve Bank of India has,in the interest of safety of the customer and to add one more layer of security on card usage,asked banks to introduce mandatory punching of PINs at merchant establishments.

If you are a debit card or a credit card holder then in all likelihood your bank would have sent you an SMS or an e-mail alert stating that you will have to enter your ATM PIN while shopping.

Though it came as a regulatory requirement,bankers feel that the move will go a long way in reducing fraudulent usage of cards.

“This will certainly provide an additional level of authentication and reduce frauds as it is a password that only the card holder knows. The RBI brought additional PIN validation on internet transactions nearly three years ago and it has been very effective in reducing frauds and increasing customer confidence. Validation through ATM PIN at physical points of sale can be seen as the second phase of RBI measures,” said Parag Rao,Senior EVP and business head — card payment products and merchant acquiring services,HDFC Bank.


However,card users will still need to be careful as the possibility of a fraud can’t be completely ruled out and they need to follow some guidelines.

“The move is going to be beneficial but card holders will have to keep the secrecy of PIN intact and also avoid keeping the PIN number and the card together,” said Pallav Mohapatra,CEO,SBI Cards.

The RBI had also mandated card issuers to issue only chip-plus-PIN cards to new customers and replace the old cards with these new cards. Bankers say that all new cards being issued are chip-plus and they are also in the process of replacing the existing ones.

“Chip based cards have an additional security as they cannot be skimmed which was the case with the old cards,” said Mohapatra who added that replacing old terminals with new ones that can accept such cards is also in the works.

“A combination of EMV chip and PIN is the highest level of security for a card. Most banks have started using this technology but since there are nearly 390 million card holders (debit+credit),it is being done gradually,” said Rao.

Do’s and Dont’s

Experts say that memorise the PIN and destroy the document sent by the bank that carries your PIN. While you have done that,you also need to change your Pin at the earliest by going to the bank’s website. Also do not keep the PIN and the ATM/credit card together. Avoid using simple combinations as passwords such as ‘0000’,‘1234’,etc.

Bankers say that in case you forget your PIN while at the merchant establishment,they have kept the option of generating a new PIN immediately by visiting the website or by calling the helpline number.