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Thanks Chase for our new Chip cards but what happened to the PIN? July 14, 2015

Posted by wastedspacer in IT Security, Rants, Technologies.
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What is the point of having a Chip card without a PIN?

In my opinion, the US credit card industry is bonkers and just squandered $33 Billion on upgrading everyone’s credit cards by adding a Chip but neglecting to add any kind of personalization step to create a PIN (too difficult they claim)!

A simple implementation and personalization step would have been to require the card’s FIRST USE in a chip reader to create a PIN and also require a positive ID from the merchant/bank and/or face capture at an ATM sent to the owner to confirm/decline within 48 hrs.

Instead the US card holder has a card that will still work for an unauthorized person even if it is lost, “borrowed” or stolen. The only minor improvement is to reduce fraud in the case of card-skimming or number + CSC theft.

What particularly galled me was the US banking industry citing how effective the fraud reduction had been in Europe as a principal driver for this change. But those fraud-reduction statistics are actually based on the use of Chip AND PIN not just a chip alone.

Another irritating claim by Chase is the suggestion that using a CHIP card in Europe “may” require the use of a PIN in which case you are out of luck so carry cash instead! In my experience in the UK, if you have a CHIP you MUST present the PIN so this daft credit card is no longer going to be usable over in the UK. We don’t even have an option to create a PIN if we wanted one, the default settings for these pieces of dumb plastic is OFF 😦

Here’s one of the less-than helpful pieces of documentation from Chase:


Seems I am not alone in the lambasting of this rather dumb and seemingly pointless waste of $33 BILLION!!

Source: Money – You’re about to get a new credit card … and it’s an epic failure

and Wal-Mart’s executive in charge of payments thinks the United States’ switch to chip-based credit cards is going to be a disappointment.

So far our experience with what just arrived in the mailbox is certainly looking that way! We are being given 60 days to comply, they changed the CSC and nudged out the expiration date so we will need to update all our auto-pay settings AGAIN. We only recently received new cards and had just completed that onerous exercise!

Perhaps its time to start a consumer security pressure group to force US Credit Card companies to implement the PIN, or at least provide a way for those of us who WANT a PIN can get one since that is an embedded part of the EMV design.


Scotland: You say you want a devolution? September 17, 2014

Posted by wastedspacer in Political Issues.
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Just say NO to devolution – my two groats:

There don’t seem to be many ex-pat Scots I have talked to who actually wants to see Scotland leave the union. Alas, even though we were born there we don’t get to vote NO. I certainly consider myself as a Scot first which happens to be part of the stronger union with Britain. I have lived in England and later the US for many years so my perspective is more as an outsider trying to make sense of the implications.

Assuming the vote is YES, for me my first question is where do I get my passport renewed? Is there going to be a Scottish embassy or consulate in every location there is currently a British one? Do I get an EU passport or will I need to show it at every border crossing? Will I have to change my money at the border to a new currency? What happens to my NHS identity number? Will I need an SHS version?

I certainly understand the drive for a perceived “freedom” but what are us Scots actually saying YES to? The shackles of today’s Scotland are not about slavery, religion, oppressors and usurpers? For many who vote YES perhaps independence is more a euphoric state of mind, purely symbolic rather than the reality. Whilst that all sounds grand, the reality is the potentially massive cost of disruption to the Scots when living this new reality.

Is it really about the control of the money? Financial services is another major income generator but the Bank of Scotland seems set to move to London if there is a YES vote to leave.

If the YES vote happens, I dread the “what have we done” moment when reality sets in, trust and the sense of unity has been lost with the rest of Britain and changes that cannot be undone hit the pockets of those who are now wondering what has actually changed.

The defence services are gone, armies of Scottish Civil servants appear as new national services are duplicated. All this infrastructure needs to be built and paid for. this in turn requires the Scots pass these onerous burdens on in the way of taxes. Surely we have Oil to pay for all of this? Perhaps not as much as we thought?

One primary driver for devolution seems to be about Scotland’s resources such as OIL which seems to have no long-term future with the decline in the North Sea: as outlined in this recent Washington Post article http://wapo.st/1r1onuc .

I can’t help feeling a bit like the concerned parent who despite their guidance and warning sees their child about to make a tragic mistake. On the one hand, we feel that is is better for our child to learn by the school of hard-knocks. However, if the consequences of their action could be deadly or life-threatening then we have to step in….

…. in the case of Scotland seceding from the union, the outcome is somewhere between these concerned states. On that basis I would strongly urge a NO vote. If I was living in Scotland now, I would be right there frantically waving my NO flag.

Final thoughts – whether you vote YES or NO, why not put down a sizable bet on the opposite of whoever you voted for. Then regardless of the outcome you will have something to smile about 🙂