Exciting Chip-and-PIN Update

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In the past, I have whined at great length about the fact that most new chip-based credit cards are chip-and-signature. This is both insecure—anyone can scrawl a signature—and incompatible with card readers in Europe. But the boffins who run our banks figured that Americans were too dumb to remember a PIN for their credit cards, so chip-and-signature it was.

However, my Wells Fargo debit card claims to be chip-and-PIN. Is it really? Today at the supermarket, a little sign told me that their card reader now accepts chip-based cards. So I stuck in my debit card. A few seconds later it asked for my PIN. Be still my heart! I entered it, and the transaction was approved.

So I can now report definitively that at least one debit card is true chip-and-PIN. And quite handily, the PIN is the same as the PIN for getting cash from the ATM, so it’s easy to remember. Thanks, Wells Fargo!

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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