Chip and Pain

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?

One thought on “Chip and Pain”

  1. Putting to one side the inevitable technological failures inherent in the chip and pin system, what no-one seems to be mentioning is how easy it is to “shoulder surf” pin numbers.
    At Sainsbury’s this week I was able to watch the three shoppers in front of me tap their pin numbers in. If I were so inclined, what’s to stop me mugging the person for their card and then using the card as if I were that person? I’m no good at forgery, so wouldn’t be able to sign their name… but watching and remembering four numbers: that I can do! So, where’s the extra security here? It’s this short sighted faith in new technology to solve security problems that makes me angry about the National ID Card… or Entitlement Card, or whatever they’re calling it this week.

    Rant over. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.