l came across another odd annoyance with the new Chip and Pin system this morning. We received our first C+P cards this month, but so far only l had got a leter with a PIN, so this morning I phoned the bank. The answer surprised me a bit, in that rather than sending a new PIN, they said that it was intentional. Apparently the PIN’s on the cards are the same, so that I can decide whether to give Beth her PIN. Quite what they expect Beth to do with the card if I don’t, use it as an ice scraper maybe?
Actually, the whole Chip and PIN thing annoys me, especially the misleading way it has been presented. For example, one point to bear in mind is that it is portrayed as more secure due to the PIN being secured on the chip. However, look on the back of the card and there is still the old magnetic strip. To cope with old cash machines, and machines abroad, this still holds the same information as before, including your PIN!
To some extent it is an example of how we often assume that a high tech solution will be a perfect solution. But it only looks good compared to fixing the problems with existing solutions because we don’t know the new problems yet. Chip and PIN seems like a great solution, but as it can’t replace the existing, insecure magnetic stripe, and if experience so far is anything to go by causes problems for many people who forget their PIN’s, is it any better, or has it just replaced one set of problems with another?