When you apply for a debit card, the bank sets up a personal identification number, or PIN, that allows you to use the card. This number may be one that you have selected or that has been randomly assigned to you. If you lose this number, your bank's policy dictates how you go about getting a replacement PIN.
Call the Bank
Contact your bank's toll-free number to request a replacement PIN. Customer service representatives might be available for extended hours beyond your bank's office hours to process such requests. If your bank allows you to set up a new PIN by phone, it will then send you a mailer within a few business days containing your new PIN.
If you suspect that your debit card number has been stolen and that your account may be compromised, notify your bank immediately. The Federal Trade Commission reports that federal law prohibits a bank from holding you liable for fraudulent transactions that are made on your account after you report the loss or theft of your card.
If you have online banking, you might be able to request a new PIN through your bank's website if it provides this option.
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Go to the Bank
Some banks require you to change your PIN in person. And, this may be the only way you have to set a customized PIN of your choosing.
Use the ATM
If you receive a mailer with a generic PIN, you may be able to change it to one that you can more easily remember. For example, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank and Santander allow you to change PINs at their ATMs.
Run the Card
Even without a PIN, you can still use your card for many types of transactions. The debit function requires you to key in a PIN, but you can usually select the credit option on the merchant keypad instead. Visa explains that if the keypad automatically prompts you for a PIN, hit "cancel" and then choose the credit option or inform the cashier that you want to sign for the transaction instead. You can also purchase products online, pump gas or order merchandise through catalogs with your debit card that do not require a PIN transaction.