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  • No PIN No Pay - from 1 August
  • From August 1st you'll need a PIN for most credit and debit card transactions
  • Image showing a large group of penguins and indicating how difficult it would be for somebody to guess your credit or debit card PIN

Australians need PIN at point-of-sale from 1st August 2014

The Industry Security Initiative, a collective of Australia’s major financial institutions and card schemes, confirms that PIN has become the main form of card payment authorisation in Australia starting from 1 August 2014.

The industry-wide move to expand PIN at the point of sale (POS) and phase-out the signature as a form of verification on Australian credit and debit cards will take place over a short transition period which started on 1 August this year.

The initiative, which is supported by the PINwise communications campaign, is a national bid to make Australia’s payment system even safer.

Starting with some of the nation’s largest merchants, the move will see all of Australia’s 800,000 merchant payment terminals undergo a software update to no longer accept signature as the main form of card authorisation for Australian cardholders.

There will be no change to contactless or online transactions and only in some circumstances such as when using a card issued from a bank overseas, will signature still be a valid form of verification.

Contact your bank or card issuer for more information on how to get your PIN.

What is PINwise?

PINwise is an Initiative of the Australian payments card industry to encourage the use of PIN instead of signature.

Why?

Using your PIN for credit and debit card purchases at point of sale is safer and faster than signing. There is only a one in ten thousand chance of someone guessing your PIN.

How?

Use your PIN when you make a purchase in person or the quick and convenient contactless option where available. For any questions about your PIN, contact your bank or card issuer using the links below.

How to get a PIN
Are you a merchant? What does PIN mean for you?

Getting & using your PIN. Choose your institution.

  • Westpac logo
  • NAB logo
  • Commonwealth Bank logo
  • ANZ logo
  • Bank of Melbourne logo
  • St. George logo
  • BankSA logo
  • BankWest logo
  • CitiBank logo
  • HSBC logo
  • GE Money logo
  • American Express logo

Choose your bank or financial institution above, or visit your financial institution’s website for more information.

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Being PINwise

What does it mean to be “PINwise” and why should I use a PIN?

Being “PINwise” means using a PIN to confirm your identity when you use your credit or debit card to conduct a transaction at a point of sale in Australia. Using a PIN helps protect against fraud due to lost or stolen cards. This is because the chances of someone correctly guessing your PIN, which can be from four to six digits long, is very small.

Why is a PIN safer than signing?

When using your credit, charge or debit card at the point-of-sale terminal, you enter a PIN when you authorise your transaction, rather than signing. Your PIN transaction is encrypted and sent in real-time to your card issuer to be authorised. PIN usage can help protect against fraud due to lost or stolen cards, because the fraudster would need to have both your card and your PIN; this is why you should not share/tell your PIN with any other person, only you should know your PIN.

Who is behind the PINwise initiative?

The Industry Security Initiative (ISI) comprises representatives of all Australian financial institutions that issue Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club cards plus representatives of Visa, MasterCard™, American Express and Diners Club International. The initiative members represent the payments card industry and their role is to ensure that there is a consistent experience for consumers when using their credit, charge or debit card to pay for purchases in Australia, regardless of the financial institution that issues the card.

Getting and Managing Your PIN


How do I get a PIN for my card? How do I change my PIN? How do I find out if I have a PIN on my card already?

Your bank / card issuer will provide you with the PIN for your credit or debit card. If you have forgotten your PIN, the card issuer can provide you with another PIN upon request. PIN’s may be issued over the internet, by phone or via mail (usually in a separate envelope to the actual card). Some card issuers allow their customers to customise and select their own PIN during the card activation process over the phone.

It will be important that you remember the PIN for each of your debit and credit cards. If you do not remember what PIN they have, it is best for you to contact your bank/card issuer directly.

Different card issuers have different processes for changing a PIN. It is best for you to contact your bank/card issuer directly, or visit their website, to find out how to change your PIN or request a new one.

How do I choose a secure PIN?

Much like choosing a computer password, and, like those passwords, you should keep your PIN a secret. You should avoid using a PIN that contains repeating characters (like 9999) or digits in sequence (like 1234), or numbers that represent publically researchable information, such as your birthday, year of birth, or address.

Some banks and card issuers allow cardholders to set longer PINs, of up to six characters long. A longer PIN number is much harder to guess than a shorter one. A longer PIN may not be compatible in some overseas locations. In that instance you may have to sign for goods and services. Longer PINs on debit cards may not be accepted in overseas ATMs for cash withdrawals.

Will I be able to change my PIN at an ATM?

Some financial institutions will allow you to reset your PIN at the ATMs provided by them. To reset your PIN at an ATM, you will be required to use the existing PIN. Not all banks will allow a PIN change at ATM. We advise that you contact your bank to understand all of their specific options for changing your PIN.

What if someone has seen my PIN?

If you suspect someone other than yourself knows your PIN, you must immediately change your PIN, or have a new PIN issued to you, by contacting your bank/card issuer and gaining further instructions.

What happens if I exceed my PIN tries at an ATM or payment terminal?

If you enter the wrong PIN multiple times in a row, your card may be locked so that fraudsters cannot keep trying to guess your PIN.

Unlocking the card is simple - just contact your bank/card issuer for instructions. For some cards, it may be possible to unlock your PIN at your bank’s nearest branch; however it is best to contact your bank/card issuer for further instructions.

If I return goods for a refund, will I need to enter my PIN to receive the money back?

Merchant processes for dealing with refunds may vary. In some cases, you may be asked to enter your PIN.

What kind of point-of-sale transactions will require me to use a PIN?

After a short transition period that began on August 1st 2014, the majority of credit and debit card transactions at point-of-sale in Australia, including cash-out transactions, will require a PIN instead of a signature. A notable exception is a contactless purchase transaction under $100 which does not require a PIN and did not require a signature in any case.

Other exceptions which do not require a PIN include:

  • Certain small ticket payments that do not require signature or PIN under $35
  • Transactions from most unattended terminals e.g. parking meters, kiosks and vending machines
  • International transactions in Australia (transactions conducted by cardholders with cards issued by banks outside Australia)
  • Magnetic stripe transactions (generally on payment cards that do not have a chip, for example some American Express cards, Diners Club cards, pre-paid cards, gift cards)
  • Signature only cards - these cards will be issued by certain financial institutions to accommodate special needs of individual cardholders and are subject to specific criteria

In each case, the payment terminal that is reading your card will prompt for a PIN if it is required.

To find out if your card has cash-out functionality, please contact your bank/card issuer directly. Also not all merchants support cash-out at point-of-sale. Please ensure that you ask your merchant whether or not it supports cash-out at their terminal.

Who else knows my PIN and who is it safe to reveal my PIN to?

Except for you, no one (not even the card issuing staff) knows your PIN. The PIN must not be disclosed to anyone, including your bank/card issuer, a member of law enforcement (e.g. the police) and merchant staff at point-of-sale. However, if you do think someone else knows or has found out your PIN, you must change your PIN immediately, whether it is by contacting your bank card issuer to have a new PIN issued, or by changing your PIN using your bank’s/card issuer’s ATM or branch network, if supported. Your card issuer will never ask you to disclose your PIN.

Remembering Your PIN


I am having trouble remembering my PIN; how does this affect me?

You can change your PIN to a four-digit or six-digit number that is easier to remember. Different card issuers have different processes for changing your PIN. It is best for you to contact your bank/card issuer directly, or visit their website, to find out how to change your PIN. You should make sure that it is a number that nobody else can easily guess.

What happens if I forget my PIN?

If you type in the wrong PIN three times into the point-of-sale terminal, your card will become locked and you will be unable to complete a point-of-sale transaction. You should contact your bank or financial institution to obtain instructions on how to unlock it. In many cases they will ask you to go to one of their branches or ATMs to unlock the card. When you know your PIN, it will work in an ATM to obtain cash.

If you have forgotten your PIN, or if you don’t know if you have a PIN, you should contact your bank or financial institution directly. They will advise you of their procedures for supplying you with a new or replacement PIN.

I have been told not to write my PIN down - what can I do?

You could change your PIN to a number that is easier for you to remember, ensuring that you do not use numbers that others could easily guess. For a list of methods of how to change your PIN, it is best for you to contact your bank/card issuer for further instructions.

What if I forget my PIN when I get to the till?

Provided you have not locked your PIN by entering it incorrectly three times, you should tell the cashier, who will advise you what alternatives are available. If no alternatives are available, you will have to use a different card or an alternative payment method.

Your New Card


What does a “chip card” look like?

Your Australian issued credit or debit card will most likely already have a "smart" chip. The chip itself is embedded in the card, but the top of the gold/silver contact plate can be seen from the front of the card, on the left hand side. There will be occasions when the merchant accepting your card for payment, in Australia and overseas, will not be able to process a PIN transaction and you will be required to sign instead. Your card will therefore retain both its magnetic stripe and signature strip on the back.

I have just received my new card(s). What should I do with my old card(s)?

When you receive your new card(s), follow the instructions of your bank/card issuer to activate your new card(s). You should cut up and dispose of your old card securely.

Do all credit, charge and debit cards still need to be signed on the reverse?

Yes. This is still necessary, as the signature will continue to be used for verification in certain situations, such as travelling abroad to a country where where PIN is not used or where a merchant has not upgraded to a PIN enabled terminal.

How are cards I use for business purposes affected by PIN?

If you have been issued a corporate payment card from your employer, or if you were issued a corporate payment card for a business you own, your corporate cards will be upgraded to be PIN enabled, much like a regular credit, charge or debit card. Corporate cards may also be commonly referred to as commercial, business, or company cards, and are generally used to make business-related payments such as invoice payments or business expenses. If you do not have one already, you will need a PIN for these types of card.

Using Your PIN


Do all transactions in Australia need a PIN?

No, not all transactions at point of sale will need a PIN, most notably contactless transactions (Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass or American Express Contactless) under $100 do not need to be authorised by a PIN, and do not require a signature today.

Other exemptions are:

  • Certain small ticket payments that do not require signature or PIN under $35
  • Transactions from most unattended terminals e.g. parking meters, kiosks and vending machines
  • International transactions (transactions conducted by cardholders with cards issued by banks outside Australia)
  • Magnetic stripe transactions (generally on payment cards that do not have a chip, for example some pre-paid cards and gift cards)
  • Signature only cards. These cards may be issued by certain financial institutions to accommodate special needs of individual cardholders and are subject to specific criteria

In each case, the payment terminal that is reading your card will prompt for a PIN if it is required.

Can I still use the contactless option?

Yes. In Australia, where that facility is enabled, you can still ‘tap’ your MasterCard™ PayPass, Visa payWave or American Express Contactless enabled credit or debit card on a contactless enabled terminal or touchpad to initiate the payment side of the transaction. When contactless is used, for any transaction under the value of $100 there is no need for you to PIN or sign. For transactions of $100 or greater you will from August 1st 2014 be asked to PIN.

To check whether the point-of-sale terminal supports contactless transactions, ask the attendant at the terminal, or simply look at the terminal’s screen prompt for instructions. The following symbol Contactless symbol indicates that the card and the payment terminal or card reader can conduct a contactless transaction.

Will the PIN I use for making purchases be the same as the PIN used for cash withdrawals at the ATM?

Yes. Each new card will have one PIN that can be used for cash withdrawals at ATMs, and purchases at point-of-sale.

Will PINs be used to make card transactions through the Internet or over the telephone?

No. PIN is only applicable when you are physically present at the point-of-sale during the purchase or cash-out transaction. You should never share your PIN with anyone if purchasing goods online or via the telephone.

In what cases would cardholders not have to use a PIN?

A PIN is not required for mail or telephone order transactions, or transactions conducted on the Internet.

PIN is only applicable when you are physically present at the point-of-sale during the purchase or withdrawing cash at an ATM. There are some circumstances at the physical point-of-sale when PIN is not required (and neither is signature), most notably contactless ("Tap and Go") payments under $100 and low value payments (under $35) at some merchants and transactions from most unattended terminals e.g. vending machines and parking meters.

Other exceptions which do not require a PIN include:

  • International transactions in Australia (transactions conducted by cardholders with cards issued by banks outside Australia)
  • Magnetic stripe transactions (generally on payment cards that do not have a chip, for example some American Express cards, Diners Club cards, pre-paid cards, gift cards)
  • Signature only cards - these cards will be issued by certain financial institutions to accommodate special needs of individual cardholders and are subject to specific criteria

There are no circumstances in which you should reveal your PIN when making a purchase or booking services by mail order or over the telephone or internet.

What if I’m not prompted to enter a PIN?

Where the point-of-sale terminal at the merchant does not prompt you to enter a PIN, you will be asked to follow the current card payment process, normally using your signature to confirm the transaction. Note that contactless transactions (“Tap and Go”) under $100,some low value transactions under $35 will not require a PIN or a signature and most transactions from unattended terminals e.g. vending machines and parking meters.

How can I add a gratuity in a restaurant?

Most new pay-at-table terminals at restaurants should display the amount that you are paying and ask if you wish to add a gratuity (often providing the option of adding a percentage or a dollar figure that you can choose). Follow the display prompts. If you add a gratuity amount, the total amount of the transaction will then be displayed and you will be prompted to enter your PIN. By doing so you are accepting the total amount of the transaction.

What happens if I still try to sign for a purchase in Australia?

From August 1st 2014, if the terminal has requested a PIN (likely to see “ENTER PIN” on the screen) then it will not allow you to continue with the transaction unless your PIN is entered. Therefore it is important that you have and use a PIN as soon as possible in order to avoid any issues with processing your payments in the future.

Will I be able to withdraw cash on a card issued by my employer?

The ability to withdraw cash is specific to each bank/card issuer. It is best for you to contact your employer directly, as the ability to withdraw cash may also depend on the policy of your employer. For further information or help, please contact your card issuer.

After 1 August 2014


Why can I still sign sometimes?

From 1 August, there will be a short transition period while the software in all point-of-sale (POS) terminals across Australia is upgraded. You should still use your PIN with each transaction, as the number of places where signature is accepted will quickly reduce over the next couple of months.

What if I don’t have a chip card?

After 1 August, Australian issued magnetic-stripe (mag-stripe) cards without an embedded-chip will still be able to use signature for authorisation; most of these cards will be replaced with chip-enabled cards by their issuer within the next few months.

Does this impact ‘Tap & Go’ / contactless?

The operation of Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass, and contactless payments from other providers, including American Express, for transactions up to $100 will not change in light of the move to PIN.

What if I cannot use a PIN?

Australians with a genuine need to sign can apply for signature-preferred cards; each applicant for such a card will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by their bank or card issuer. People cannot opt to have a signature-preferred card simply because they prefer to sign. The move to PIN only technology is a compulsory security update to Australia’s payment system.

What about non-Australian issued cards?

Visitors from overseas will not be impacted by the changes, so they will use signature or PIN to authorize transactions as they did before. Hence signature will still be a valid form of payment authorisation for most visitors from overseas.

PINwise and Accessibility


What if I have an impairment which makes it impossible to use a PIN?

While it is recommended that cardholders always use their PIN if given the option, it is understood that some cardholders may have a genuine requirement to be able to continue to sign due to mental or physical impairments, even once the PIN mandate is in force from 1st August. For these select cardholders a number of card issuers will be providing an option for the cardholder to request a replacement card which will allow them to continue to sign if they have difficulty using a PIN. You should contact your own financial institution or issuer if you require further information on this topic.

How does PIN affect those who are blind or partially sighted?

The vast majority of PIN pads on point-of-sale terminals have a tactile feature that includes a raised dot on the middle ‘5’ button. This layout will be familiar to most people with vision impairments, and should therefore be easier to use. Also, the primary 'function' keys are colour coded for ease of visibility. Usually, the 'cancel' button is red, the 'clear/cancel' button is yellow, and the 'Enter/OK' button is green.

Many PIN pads are designed to be picked up from their holders, to make it easier and more secure for you to enter your PIN. You may also come across PIN pads which have been built into the shop counter, and in restaurants and bars the PIN pads are likely to be wireless so that you can pay whilst sitting at the table. Whatever the case may be, merchant staff should always be able to help you through the process and answer any queries. But you should never disclose your PIN to the staff, your PIN should remain confidential/secret to you.

Research with blind/visually impaired cardholders in February 2013 showed that the vast majority of those interviewed were happy to use a PIN, having tried it and found it easier and quicker than signing. If you believe you have a disability that may make it difficult for you to use a PIN, contact your bank/card issuer as they will be able to discuss this with you.

I am having trouble using my hands, how does PIN affect me?

Some people may have difficulty with entering PINs, particularly those with physical conditions such as arthritis or cerebral palsy. If you have a disability and think that you may have difficulty with PIN due to impairment, please contact your bank/card issuer and they will discuss options with you.

Can I ask the merchant staff to enter my PIN for me?

No. For security reasons, the PIN must never be shared with anyone, even card issuer staff. If you are unable to use a PIN please contact your card issuer to discuss alternative methods.

Travelling PINwise


What happens when I travel overseas?

If you are travelling overseas, it is a good idea to know your PIN before you leave. It is best to check with your bank/card issuer before travelling overseas, in order to understand how your bank/card issuer’s procedures apply and whether you will be asked to enter a PIN when travelling overseas. This is because some banks/card issuers program their cards to require a PIN even when used overseas.

If you are travelling overseas, you should contact your bank/card issuer about your travel plans, in order to ensure that they know to expect transactions processed from your country of destination.

What happens when I travel overseas, but have a longer PIN of six digits?

If you have changed your PIN from the originally issued four (4) digit PIN to a six (6) digit PIN, some of your transactions may not be successful overseas. You may also encounter an error with your four digit PIN in some countries that require a six digit PIN. The most widespread standard currently, however, is a 4 digit PIN. Please be aware some countries and overseas banks have different PIN rules to those in Australia. If you have further questions about PIN usage overseas, please contact your bank/card issuer for further information.

Is it unsafe to sign for purchases when I go overseas?

Your Australian issued credit or debit card may or may not support PIN when you travel overseas, depending on your destination. If the equipment at the overseas merchant does not allow you to use PIN, you should still feel safe that you are protected by signature verification. Be sure that you have signed the back of your card, and that the merchant checks the signature for verification.

I am visiting Australia as a tourist or on business and I don't have a PIN enabled card - will I be able to use it in shops?

You don't need to worry. Your cards will still be accepted in Australian shops and by other businesses including hotels and restaurants. You will simply be asked to sign, just as before.

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