Dear Izzy is an anonymous advice column that offers solutions to everyday challenges for people who are blind or partially sighted.
I have macular degeneration and I am finding it increasingly difficult to enter my PIN (personal identification number ) on payment terminal keypads when purchasing items with a debit card or credit card. For security reasons, I do not want to give the cashier my PIN so she can enter it. I prefer not to carry cash for fear of theft. Do you have any suggestions to make these types of transactions easier?
Dear PIN Chagrin,
Entering a PIN using a payment terminal keypad (or point of sales terminal) can be made easier by following these simple steps:
Explore the payment terminal keypad to determine if the number 5 key has a raised bump on it, like the number 5 on a telephone keypad. This bump is used as a landmark to help you locate the other numbers. If you are unable to locate the number 5 key, you can ask the cashier to place her finger on the number 5 key and you can look or feel for her fingertip or, likewise, you can make a pointer with your index-finger and ask the cashier to place your fingertip on the number 5 key.
If you find it difficult to remember your PIN, you can change the number to something you would find easier to remember. For example, the pin can spell out a word on the numeric keypad, perhaps a name like JACK. Another option, is to choose a PIN that creates an imaginary pattern on the PIN pad. Remember that your PIN is your protection against fraud! Do not make the PIN so simple that it could easily be duplicated by a criminal (e.g. 5555). Never disclose your PIN to another person!
People tend to shop at the same locations so they will learn what to expect with each payment terminal keypad. If you would like to avoid entering your PIN altogether, you can request a "chip and signature" card from your credit card company. This card does not require a PIN at payment. Instead, you will sign the receipt to confirm the transaction, like you used to prior to the introduction of "chip and PIN" credit cards. Please note that some retailers may request a piece of picture identification with your signature on it at the time of purchase in order to verify the credit card's owner.
If you would like to learn about additional money management tools (e.g. audio automated teller machines), please contact your local CNIB office. Happy spending!
If you would like to submit an independent living skills question to Izzy, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question may be answered in a future CNIB blog.