Exciting Chip-and-PIN Update


In the past, I have whined at great length about the fact that most new chip-based credit cards are chip-and-signature. This is both insecure—anyone can scrawl a signature—and incompatible with card readers in Europe. But the boffins who run our banks figured that Americans were too dumb to remember a PIN for their credit cards, so chip-and-signature it was.

However, my Wells Fargo debit card claims to be chip-and-PIN. Is it really? Today at the supermarket, a little sign told me that their card reader now accepts chip-based cards. So I stuck in my debit card. A few seconds later it asked for my PIN. Be still my heart! I entered it, and the transaction was approved.

So I can now report definitively that at least one debit card is true chip-and-PIN. And quite handily, the PIN is the same as the PIN for getting cash from the ATM, so it’s easy to remember. Thanks, Wells Fargo!

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