The PIN Potential

The use of the PIN as an authentication method has significant and continued benefits, even in industry sectors spending small fortunes testing every biometrics know to man. This is due in large part to its simplicity and wide recognition, but also due to its wide-ranging versatility.

Consumers already use PIN to authenticate themselves when withdrawing money from ATMs and when making in-store debit and credit card payments. They are now able to use the same four digit code to make purchases online, while still taking full advantage of multi-factor and multi-mode authentication capability of the modern smartphone.

For example, ticket touting (a.k.a. scalping) remains a significant problem with MPs wanting to take action against ticket resale sites who sell tickets at vastly inflated prices. Organisers of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in England have also voiced concern about how touting could negatively impact this flagship event.

For some concerts and sporting events, tickets alone are now not enough to gain entry. To prevent touting, organisers will require photo ID alongside tickets or require visibility of the card used to purchase the tickets. Yet not everyone carries photo ID with them and physical checking of cards is a slow process, which keeps fans in queues when they would rather be soaking up the atmosphere at the big event.

The potential of PIN to speed up this process and fight touts is considerable. Rather than security manually checking payment cards against lists of names, as is now happening at events, fans could simply put their card in an mPOS and enter their PIN.

An even more elegant mechanism would be the registration of the consumer’s mobile device during ticket purchase, then all that would be required is either PIN or fingerprint entry on the consumer device to confirm identity.

These solutions are faster, more secure and would significantly reduce the loop-holes through which touters ply their wares.

Another area where PIN could help is supermarket home deliveries. For a delivery to be accepted, an over 18 year old needs to sign for it. And, when there are age restricted goods such as alcohol, ID is required to take delivery. This adds inconvenience to what is a practical, and increasingly popular way to shop, especially for those with physical challenges.

Again, if the delivery drivers had access to an mPOS device, all that would be needed would be the payment card and the PIN. It could reduce fraud and avoid age-restricted items getting into young hands.

These are just two examples of areas where PIN verification could have a critical role to play in fighting fraud, saving time and cutting down inconvenience.

The power of the PIN is limited only by imagination.