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Home >Money >Calculators >You’ll have to use ATM PIN when you swipe your debit card

Now every time you swipe your card at a merchant outlet, you will have to enter the personal identification number (PIN) that you use at an automated teller machine (ATM).

Why the change?

As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, from 1 December 2013, all debit card transactions at retail outlets will need to be validated using the existing ATM PIN. The move was introduced to reduce the incidence of frauds in payment systems. Based on the recommendations of a working committee to enhance card transaction security, in September 2011, RBI issued a circular on security issues and risk mitigation measures. According to the apex bank, transactions at ATMs and points of sale (PoS) constitute a major proportion of card-based transactions in the country. RBI stated that though a PIN validation is necessary for cash withdrawal at ATMs, most card transactions at PoS are not enabled for any additional authentication (other than signature). It further said that most of the cards issued by banks in India have magnetic stripes and the data stored on such cards is vulnerable to skimming and cloning. Hence, it was decided that all debit card transactions will now have PIN as an additional level of authentication. Initially, the deadline to implement this was was 30 June. But it was later extended to 30 November.

How does it work?

With the new rule, when a merchant swipes or inserts your debit card in a PoS machine, she will first enter the amount. Then the PoS machine will prompt for a PIN, which you will have to enter to complete the transaction. This PIN is the same one that you use at ATMs. If you don’t punch in your PIN, the bank will decline the transaction. You get three chances to enter the right PIN. If the fourth attempt is also wrong, your card will get blocked. This is similar to the process at ATMs.

What should you do?

Banks including HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd and State Bank of India have alerted customers through SMS or emails about the change. Considering that you will be using your PIN while using your debit card, always insist on entering the PIN yourself. Never share your debit card ATM PIN with anyone, including the merchant. While using your card on PoS machine, if you suspect something unusual, do not use the machine and report it to the bank immediately. Using PIN for debit card transactions is one of the security measures that RBI has been introducing. For instance, on 26 November, it issued a circular advising banks to enable EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa) chip, Aadhaar (biometric validation) and PIN acceptance for all new card infrastructure.

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