Personal identification number

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Personal Identification Number

Commonly called a PIN. A password that a person uses to access an ATM with one's debit card, though they are increasingly being used for all debit card transactions. A PIN protects the person who owns the card from identity theft as well as the risk that a thief can steal the card and then use it without limit. Assuming the PIN is randomly generated when the card is issued and the potential thief has no other information, the thief has approximately a 0.06% chance of guessing the PIN when using the card. It was invented by James Goodfellow, who was also instrumental in developing the ATM itself.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Personal identification number (PIN).

A personal identification number is a combination of numbers, letters, or both that you use to access your checking and savings accounts, credit card accounts, or investment accounts electronically.

You also need a PIN to authorize certain debit card purchases as well as for identification in other situations, such as accessing cell phone messages.

A PIN is one way to help protect your accounts against unauthorized use since presumably no other person would know the four- to six-letter code you have chosen. PINs are not foolproof, however, if you don't take steps to ensure that your code remains private.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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