Friday 27 January 2023

Is the mandatory use of the PIN for purchases in Costa Rica safe?

The use of the card PIN for payments in stores will be applied, gradually starting May 1

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26 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

Paying the bills


QCOSTARICA – The mandatory use of the four-digit PIN (personal identification number) for the authentication of purchases with credit or debit cards will gradually come into force in Costa Rica starting May 1.

As of this date, making a purchase equal to or greater than ¢30,000 colones in stores must enter their PIN to authorize the transaction, replacing the traditional authentication through the identification document (ie cedula or passport) of the owner of the card or the signature of the purchase voucher.

Memorizing your PIN is among the recommendation for the safe use of your PIN

The amount required for the use of the PIN may be higher at some retailers.

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Banks, both private and public, have been working on the process of reviewing and updating dataphones to comply with the provisions of the Banco Central de Costa Rica (BCCR) – the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

Likewise, banks have started a campaign with their customers so that they can obtain their PIN quickly and easily through digital channels, such as Online Banking.

According to the latest survey by the Oficina del Consumidor Financiero (OCF) – Financial Consumer Office, published on April 19, 8 out of 10 Costa Ricans have at least one debit or credit card. Furthermore, the survey revealed that at least once a week, 53% use their debit card and 46% use their credit card.

For bankers, the security of banking products is a shared responsibility, mainly with regard to cards, due to the high demand and use of this payment method and take seriously the protection of customers’ personal and financial data.

But, it is essential that users also follow a series of recommendations to avoid being victims of fraud when using their credit or debit cards.

Tips for the safe use of your PIN

The logical recommendation is to memorize your PIN to avoid risks of information theft, as writing down the PIN on a piece of paper, or a computer, cell phone or notebook file makes it a more vulnerable target.

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Be careful when entering your PIN. When you have to enter your PIN at a terminal, be sure to block the visibility of the people around you with your hands, in this way, you will prevent third parties from knowing your sensitive banking information.

Choose keys that are difficult to predict. Although a PIN is first assigned by the car issuer, you can request your own PIN from your bank, either at the branch or through online banking.

Avoid using common passwords, such as birth or anniversary dates, or even consecutive or repeating strings, such as 1111 or 1234. Yes, some actually use that combination.

Recommended is choosing a combination that is also easy to automatically enter without thinking. For example, a series of four strokes that you can automatically memorize the movement flow.

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Never share your PIN. The security PIN for your cards must be confidential. Never share your password with third parties. Remember that no bank entity will request this information.

Periodically update your PIN. To avoid confusion or forgetting the PIN, this change should not be very frequent. But it should be done. Experts recommend changing the PIN annually in order to prevent security breaches or if you feel that your PIN security has been compromised.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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