19 April 2006

Chip and PIN and Problems

On the surface of it, Chip and PIN is a good idea. For starters, I find that it’s much easier to use the same four-digit PIN than it is to make my signature look the same each time I pay for something. I believe that it also has some added security implications, which is great news for us and bad news for fraudsters...

So what’s my problem then?

Well, I don’t have any problems with the concept of Chip and PIN, as such. I do, however, have issues quite specifically with the Ingenico 3300 PIN Pad terminals.

Ingenico 3300 PIN PadFor some reason, whenever I try to use any of my Chip and PIN enabled credit or debit cards in these terminals, they refuse them almost without exception. Without fail, no matter which till I would choose at ASDA each week, my credit card would always get rejected. (This was back in the days when they’d just swipe the card and let you sign for it, but that’s not allowed anymore.) I’ve even replaced all my cards in the past and tried to pay with brand new ones without any success.

Recently at Somerfield, where they were using the same Ingenico terminals, I was faced with one of those embarrassing situations where I’d packed my shopping bags and I was then told that my card wasn’t accepted. If it was my card at fault then that would be fair enough – but when the problem lies with their faulty equipment, that just makes me mad.

I emailed Ingenico yesterday to tell them about the issue. The first email that I sent to the email address on their website bounced back (which made me even madder) but here’s how they replied when I eventually found a working email address (the emphasis being mine):

Thank you for your query below.

We do carry out rigorous tests on our terminals and these are carried out to industry standards. We are not aware of this fault being a widely experienced one.

We can only apologise and suggest that you contact your bank and advise them of the problems you have been experiencing with your cards.

Kind regards


What is that supposed to mean? Are they saying that they’re not aware of the fault at all, or are they saying that they are aware of the fault, but they’re just not aware that the fault is a widely experienced one?!?

Maybe Ingenico’s terminals aren’t faulty. Maybe the supermarkets aren’t looking after them properly. Maybe my cards are bent or dirty. But when every other shop I visit accepts them without any problems, I fail to see why I should be made to look like a fool at the supermarket checkout.

Anyway, regardless of Ingenico’s intentionally ambiguous response, what should be done about this? Perhaps supermarkets should authorize your payment card as soon as you enter the store before you even start shopping; they could have a “Checkin” as well as a “Checkout”. If they did this, I wouldn’t waste my time carefully selecting items from their shelves, loading them onto the conveyor belt and packing them into carrier bags only to be told that I can’t take them because my card their equipment is faulty!

If anyone else has ever experienced any problems with the Ingenico (or other) Chip and PIN terminals, I’d be interested to know. (Which is sad, I know, but I really would actually be interested...)

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I agree. It is very bad that some stores make you sweat when it is there problem. However, be careful. Your habit of writing letters/emails of complaint is becoming a problem. Don't let it snowball you grumpy sod!
by Anonymous Anonymous  


When you steal somebody's card, as soon as they realise, they cancel it with the credit card company. Using a card that was stolen a few days ago will always be rejected.

Perhaps your petty theft skills need to be honed before you go accusing chip n pin operators of selling shoddy goods.

Other than this, you could try living a life free from crime. Get a job, get a bank account and get your own cards. Real cards.

Sort it our Ruscoe, sort it out.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Regarding the Ingenico 3300 PIN Pad, I believe Rocky uses one in Rocky 6 to buy some Band aids. Lets hope he does us all proud by regaining the heavyweight crown he lost in 1986.

Go Rocky!!
by Anonymous Anonymous  

Very few PIN entry devices offer any sort of privacy.

As is seen here you can get locked out of your account using PINs.

There seems to be a liability shift for fraud on to the cardholder when PINs are used.

Bet an awful lot of readers of the blog are unaware that they don't have to have or use PINs.

Anyone who has an issue with PINs should contact their card issuer and demand a Chip & Signature card, and keep on signing.
by Anonymous Anonymous  

As is seen here you can get locked out of your account using PINs.

Actually, I wasn't locked out of my account. The machine just wasn't reading my chip correctly.

Mr. Ruscoe, It seems that none of the responders to your blog actually read it. I, however, found your post useful in that we (the company I work for) are researching Chip & PIN for one of our products. Thank you.