Brits “More Likely To Change Spouse Than PIN”

According to research from financial services firm Intelligent Environments, us Brits are more likely to change their spouse than their PIN number.


In a survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, they found that 19% of Brits have not changed their PIN number in more than 15 years, while the average marriage that ends in divorce lasts 11.5 years.

Clayton Locke, chief technology officer at Intelligent Environments, said:

“Many Britons have a longer relationship with their PIN than they do with their spouse. With so many passwords to remember, no one wants to keep changing their four digit ATM codes. Unfortunately this increases the risk that a criminal could gain access to your accounts.”

Cash machine fraud now accounts for £32 million of losses per year. There are three common scams. Skimming devices can be installed in the card slot, recording card details as they are entered into the machine. These are often used alongside hidden cameras positioned to capture the PIN. Another common practice is card-trapping, where devices are installed to prevent the machine from ejecting the card, enabling criminals to collect the cards later. Finally, shoulder surfing is another growing threat, where criminals watch the PIN being entered, then steal the card using distraction techniques.

Intelligent Environments’ research shows the PIN number is rapidly losing confidence amongst banking customers. More than 40% of banking customers do not believe a PIN is a safe way to log in to a cash machine, and worry about it being stolen. Six in ten want their banks to provide more robust alternative security methods.

Banks can help reduce the risks for customers by implementing second factor authentication measures in their ATMs. Some cash machines – such as those used in RBS and Natwest’s GetCash service – already enable customers to make transactions without using their PIN or card at all, instead allowing customers to authenticate their transaction via the bank’s mobile app.

Locke continues:

“Mobile banking usage has more than doubled in the past year, while biometric security is becoming an increasingly viable technology to leverage. There’s a great opportunity for banks to employ second factor authentication using these methods, for example by installing fingerprint scanners on their cash machines, or enabling remote identification through a smartphone. These could help give customers a far more enhanced and secure banking experience, regardless of whether they change their PINs.”

“Intelligent Environments is working with a range of banks and financial services providers to introduce new and innovative security measures into digital and mobile financial services offerings. Second factor authentication has become a key method of keeping digital banking services secure, and this technology can be extended to the ATM.”

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