EMV at the ATM: Pin Change

By : Robert Johnston

August 13, 2015 12:30 PM

Many card issuers and acquirers in the US do not offer PIN change at the ATM, but with the EMV liability shift on the horizon, it could be the ideal time to implement this service.


PIN change is not mandated, but as a new whitepaper from the EMV Migration Forum explains, it’s a great way to provide cardholders with the full benefits of self-service.


Currently, PIN change can be done four ways - in branch, through Interactive Voice Response, at the point-of-sale or at the ATM.


ATMs operate in an online environment, communicating with a host system for all transactions. This makes the ideal place to offer a self-service feature such as PIN change.

However, it’s not going to be as straightforward as ATM deployers would like, as PIN change at the ATM is “possibly the most complex EMV transaction,” the report states. Critical to making this work is finding a way for the online PIN and offline PIN to remain synchronized.


PIN change by an EMV chip card at an ATM offers “more potential points of failure” than any other type of EMV transaction.


Because of this, it suggests that US ATM owners may want to delay implementing this feature until basic EMV functionality has been tested and implemented successfully.


“Of course, for business reasons, it may not be possible to delay implementation of PIN Change at the ATM; some ATM owners may find that they are tasked with including this feature in their initial EMV migration project,” the report says.


Costs could rise because of the additional states, screens, and configuration required at the ATM and the amount of testing required. Moreover, changes are needed not only to the ATM, but on the issuer’s authorization system as well.


ATM owners who have not previously offered PIN change at the ATM must add the specific configuration, screen flow, messages to cardholders and other functions that are required to support this feature.


PIN Change-specific items may include:


  • Modifications to the Financial Institution Tables (FIT) to indicate when and for whom the PIN change function is offered.
  • Recognizing card technology being presented (magnetic stripe or chip) and displaying PIN change for appropriate technology (if only offering PIN change for one technology)
  • New states and screens to support the first entry of the new PIN and second (confirmation) entry of the new PIN
  • Messages to the cardholder prompting them what to do next

If PIN change is implemented correctly, it can add real benefits to customer experiences. However, it is important that issuers appreciate the level of work involved, and plan the changes to fit around other activity.


Check out NCR Financial Services and learn more.


Robert Johnston

NCR Financial Services

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Based out of NCR's R&D center in Dundee, UK, Robert Johnston is a global evangelist for NCR’s retail banking software strategy. Here, Johnston shares his insights on the banking industry and how consumers are driving today's conversation.