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How debit card PINs work

Your debit card allows you to authorize payments and access your account details using your Personal Identification Number (PIN). During transactions, card readers gather information from your debit card and send transactional details to the card issuer’s bank. The same basic process applies when viewing your account details at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

How long is a debit card PIN?

Typically, most debit card PINs are four digits long. It may be tempting to go with something easy to remember like “1234,” but that’s also easy for others to guess. There are several possible ways to combine numbers zero to nine into a four-digit combination, so it may be time to get creative!

PIN vs. security code

Your debit card PIN is typically a four-digit number that lets you access your account. A debit card security code (CSC) is distinct from your PIN. Sometimes called the card verification value or card verification code (CVV or CVC, respectively), it's a three or four-digit number printed somewhere on your debit card. The CSC serves as an extra security verification when making transactions online or over the phone.

A fun fact about debit card “PIN numbers”

Since “PIN” stands for Personal Identification Number, some people claim that saying “PIN number” is redundant. While technically true, it’s not entirely difficult to see how this phrasing became commonplace.

What happens if you forget your debit card PIN

If you’ve forgotten your debit card PIN, some banks may offer a way to retrieve it through their website or app. You can also call a customer care representative, or find a local branch for help. You’ll probably still need to verify your account ownership and may be directed to reset the PIN for security reasons.

Can I change my debit card PIN?

Yes, there are ways to change your debit card PIN. Thankfully, changing a debit card PIN is typically not too complicated. If it becomes necessary to reset your PIN, it can usually be done in a few steps. Most banks offer several ways of doing so, though procedures will vary.

Website or mobile app

Many banks allow customers to change or reset their debit card PIN via their website or mobile app’s debit help center. This section is typically located online under security settings, personal settings or customer self-service.

Over the phone

It’s usually possible to recover or reset your debit card PIN via the bank’s telephone helpline. If you know your current PIN, you may be able to reset it through an automated menu. If you don’t know your PIN, however, you’ll probably need to speak with a customer representative. For security reasons, they may need to mail you a new PIN to your address on file.

At an ATM

Some banks allow customers to change their debit card PIN at an ATM. To take advantage of this method, you need to know your current PIN. Once you’re logged in, you may see additional options in the menu that lead to a page where you can set up a new number.

In person

Bank tellers can usually help you reset your debit card PIN. Knowing your current PIN will likely make your experience more straightforward, but isn't always needed if you can provide identification, like a government-issued photo ID.

In summary

If you’ve lost your card or suspect it was stolen, your bank can assist you in keeping your information secure. Changing a debit card PIN is typically a routine procedure at most banks, often with multiple methods available for your convenience. While having your current PIN handy usually facilitates the process, it’s still possible to set up a new PIN without it.

Still have questions and you’re an existing Chase customer? Visit our Debit Card Help Center

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