What is a PIN number

The Personal Identification Number (PIN) is a security feature that is found on credit and debit cards. A PIN is a four digit secret numeric code that is issued to a card holder when they obtain a card from any bank. The account holder can change their PIN number to a number that is easier for them to remember, or to a number that has a personal or unique meaning to them.

Characteristics of a PIN number 

The personal identification number serves as a security measure that ensures that only the card holder is able to access funds from their bank account. The PIN code is a four digit code that is usually mailed to the card holder after they are issued their credit or debit card. The entire security system is based on the fact that only the card holder is aware of the PIN code; it should remain a secret code as sharing the code can have a detrimental effect on the security of an individual’s bank account.

Some banking institutions have introduced a further security measure known as the user ID that needs to be entered into the system as well. The card security system matches the two codes, granting authorization only upon positive results.

The most common usage of PIN codes is in the case of using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to make cash withdrawal or balance enquiries. Card holders are required to insert their card into the ATM machine; upon this they are prompted by the system to enter their PIN. Without this code individuals are not granted access to their account or funds. The new development of Chip and PIN technology requires individuals to enter their PIN in order to complete a transaction through Point of Sale (POS) terminals.