May 4th, 2010 at 07:52 UTC by Ross Anderson
A survey by the Consumers’ Association shows that 10% of cardholders write down or share their PIN. This high proportion surely raises serious doubt about whether it’s fair for banks to claim that such people are “grossly negligent” even if the PIN is well disguised (for example, as part of a phone number in an address book with hundreds of other numbers). And if banks don’t want disabled people to share PINs with carers, they ought to come up with an alternative, or be held to account under disability discrimination laws.
Interestingly, Mark Bowerman (PR for the banks) says in this article that customers should not use the same PIN for multiple cards. We heard him on radio saying exactly the opposite a few years ago. Now he tells people to change PINs to something easy to remember (and easier for criminals to guess).
By giving customers contradictory and impractical advice, the banks are placing an unmeetable burden on them.
The banks also frequently give advice that is simply wrong. Look, for example, at this video by Barclays showing how to enter your PIN at a merchant terminal!