Yes, credit cards have personal identification numbers, but they aren't used as frequently as they are with debit cards. In addition, credit cards often require you to use security codes (which usually appear on the back of the cards), while debit cards don't.
Different types of payment methods require different types of security measures. Understanding what a PIN is, how to receive or create one and how it's used by credit card companies and merchants will help you take advantage of one more layer of protection for your personal finances.
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Read More: What is a Credit Card ID Number?
What Is a PIN?
A personal identification number is usually a four-digit number assigned to a debit or credit card, which only the owner of the account should know. While some cards come with a PIN generated by the card issuer, experts recommend changing that PIN to something new.
When you call to talk to a customer service representative about your account, they can't tell you your PIN because it's not available in your account information – it's that personal to you. At best, the rep can have a new PIN assigned and mailed to you. Once you receive it, you should change it.
Another security measure you should take is not to use your birthday, street address or any other number that hackers might easily be able to guess. In addition, you should create different PINs for your different financial accounts. That way, if someone is able to get the PIN to one of your accounts, he won't be able to use it to get into your other accounts.
Cards also come with verification numbers that are printed on them. The different types include card verification value (CVV), card validation code (CVC), card security code (CSC) or card identification (CID). These are three-digit numbers on the back of the card (or the four-digit number on the front of an American Express card).
Read More: What Is the Verification Number on a Credit Card?
Credit Card vs. Debit Card PIN
Credit card and debit card PINs are basically the same – four-digit numbers that are assigned or that you create. Depending on your bank or credit card companies, you probably won't receive your PIN when you receive your card in the mail. That way, if your letter is lost or stolen, the thief won't have your PIN. Your PIN will come in a separate letter a few days later, or you'll be asked to call in and request one or go online and create one.
Why They’re Used
PINs provide one more layer of security. If a thief has your credit or debit card, she won't be able to use it when a transaction she's trying to make (such as an ATM withdrawal) requires a PIN.
PINS are required more often for debit card transactions than credit card transactions, which might also require a signature. Some credit card companies feel this is more convenient than PINs for their customers. Credit card transactions are also more likely to require that you enter the three-digit security code on the back of the card, rather than your PIN.
Read More: How to Change the PIN on a Credit Card
How to Get One
To get a PIN for your credit card, call the number on the back of your card and navigate until you can get to an associate. Ask if your card came with a PIN and if it was mailed to you. If you did not receive the PIN in the mail, lost it or don't remember it, ask for instructions on how to reset your PIN.
You might have to let the bank reset your PIN and send you the number in the mail. A phone agent won't be able to give you a new PIN during the call. You might be able to log in to your online account and change it yourself.