What is a PIN Pad?

A personal identification number (PIN) pad is an electronic keyboard for customers who use payment cards, such as debit cards or credit cards, to enter their personal identification numbers for purchases. PIN pads are now standard components of verification counters at most major retailers because more buyers have started paying with payment cards rather than cash or checks. The payment card industry designed these cards with a PIN request as a security measure against unauthorized use.

After a payment card is swiped on a cash register during a commercial transaction, the correct number must be entered in the PIN pad to give the provider access to the funds linked to the card. The security policies of the payment card industry have led to the development of an integrated circuit chip that is built into modern payment cards. These cards are also known as chip cards or smart cards. The chip encrypts a PIN number entered in order to prevent third parties from possibly accessing it.

A PIN pad can be programmed to transfer bank access and in one of two ways. Some point-of-sale systems electronically send an encrypted PIN to a bank’s automatic information management system for verification. Others transmit the PIN only for an identification chip inside the PIN pad itself. This second method is called offline pin verification, because the PIN is not sent through any network of an external system connected to a bank.

Security features are a priority for the creators of electronic sales transaction software that include PIN pad use. If a PIN is entered incorrectly in a PIN pad, customers usually have a limited number of possibilities to re-enter correctly before the card is rejected entirely. This measure is the first line of defense against card theft. In addition, PIN pads are produced with security codes that automatically clears all records of numbers entered if thieves attempt to download PIN ‘data or otherwise hack into them.

The most used encryption method for PIN surveys is called Triple Data Encryption Algorithm (DEA). This encryption runs a PIN entered through a cipher specification three times, making numbers in strings meaningless to characters that are very difficult even for the most persistent crack cyber criminals. The Triple DEA complies with the PIN pad security standards that the International Standards Organization (ISO) determines for the payment card industry.

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