Australia goes PIN-only

Posted by Jules Category Credit Cards

On August 1, Australia finally switched over to PIN-only purchases. This means that cardholders now using their credit cards or debit cards in restaurants, shops or anywhere else they hand over their card to make a purchase will now authorise that payment using their PIN instead of their signature.

Australia is by no means the first country to swap signatures for PIN payments. Countries such as the UK, Canada, Japan and countries throughout Europe adopted PIN-only payments years ago. Why? Used in conjunction with chipped cards, PIN payments help to significantly reduce credit card fraud – and have been shown to be much more secure than the swipe and sign method.

So, what do you need to know about switching to PIN payments? While the deadline for switching was August 1, some retailers will take slightly longer to change over to the new system. However, you should be prepared to pay with PIN whenever you use your credit card or debit card from now on.

Using your credit card in person

When you use your credit or debit card to make a purchase in a supermarket, a store, a restaurant or a café, you will have to provide your PIN to complete the purchase. Any retailer that accepts credit and debit cards will have to make the switch, so that could mean using your PIN at the hairdresser, at the petrol station, at a museum, or at the train station.

Using your credit card online

The switch to PIN-only payments will really only affect credit and debit card purchases that are carried out in person. Purchases made online or over the phone will of course not require a PIN, as they never required a signature.

That means if you were booking an overnight stay in a hotel such as Sleep & Go in Melbourne, and you choose to pay online, you would not need to worry about paying with PIN. However, if you choose to pay in person at the hotel, taking advantage of its affordable prices and comfortable accommodation, you may be asked to use your PIN to authorise your credit card purchase.

Switching to PIN-only purchases

If you have a PIN set up on each of your credit and debit cards, then all you need to do is use the correct PIN for each card when making a purchase. If you don’t have a PIN for one or any of your cards, then it’s a good idea to contact your bank straight away if you want to continue to use your cards to make purchases.

Your bank may be able to provide you with a PIN, or they may have to send it out via post. Until you receive your PIN, you may be able to use your card for tap and go payments under $100, or you may have to switch back to cash for a short time.

How to set up a PIN

When setting up a PIN, there are certain rules to follow. First off, don’t choose the same PIN for more than one card. Next, make sure it’s memorable, but not something that could be guessed, for example, don’t use your birthday or phone number. It’s also best not to use consecutive numbers or the same numbers, such as 1234 or 2222. Lastly, don’t write your PIN down or keep a note of it next to your card. For more handy info on how to set up a PIN and the changes the new system will bring about, check out this video.

Jules Gillian Shiells

Jules has been writing for several years with experience in the Public Relations Industry and more recently through her own copywriting business. She has ample experience in writing about financial services, products, news, current financial affairs and more.

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