Chip & Pin

Written by Josh Brown, VP Director of Security at The Fauquier Bank

Debit card use shouldn’t be difficult…

As I was reminded recently, there is a reason it is called “Chip and PIN.”  If you are having a problem using your new computer chip enabled debit card at a point of sale (store) terminal, please remember to use your personal identification number (PIN).  I learned recently that some confused store clerks are insisting customers not use their PIN.  Yes, not using a PIN speeds up the transaction by a few seconds, but using a PIN is vastly more secure and will greatly improve the likelihood that your purchase transaction will go through.  It was reported that one of the cashiers went so far as to reach around and “hit the green button” on the terminal to force the transaction to act like a credit transaction.  My recommendation?  Tell the cashier to leave the terminal alone while you are using it.  Better yet, leave the store.  Why?  Because if they don’t understand the security of Chip & PIN, then what else don’t they understand about computer and retail security?  I know, that’s a little harsh, but really, the store personnel should not be manipulating your transaction by touching the point of sale (POS) terminal buttons in the middle of your transaction.

There is something called a FICO score that is assigned to each and every debit card transaction.  There are actually many different types of FICO scores, some help determine your credit worthiness.  In this case, a high score is not a good thing.  High scores can prevent a transaction from going through.  A high score indicates the probability that the transaction was fraudulent.  Using a PIN can drastically lower the FICO score and save you from some problems.  Your bank has no control over FICO scores and FICO (Fair Isaac Company) will not tell us how the scores are generated, for security reasons.

The Fauquier Bank has taken a stand to be a “PIN Preferred” debit card issuer.  This means we want our customers to use a PIN for transactions with a physical card present, as opposed to a web based transaction where no physical card is presented.  Banks that understand fraud and security are realizing that PIN preferred is the way to go to protect customer accounts and take advantage of the protections built in to Chip & PIN cards.

For more information on Chip and Pin, please talk to one of our CSRs at a local branch or check out our Community Calendar to attend the next day with our VP Director of Security, Josh Brown.