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How did an incorrect ATM PIN go through?

ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
So here's what happened:

I am at a pizza place, ordering a pizza. I go to pay via ATM card. I am instructed to enter my PIN. I enter it incorrectly. I know this is the case because my PIN is 6 digits and I only entered 5 (and the display only showed 5 asterisks worth of digits entered), because my finger slipped and completely missed the keypad on the last digit. Nevertheless, finger momentum carried me forward and I hit Enter before I caught myself. I am telling the cashier, "Whoops, I muffed my PIN, I'll have to re-enter it." She tells me, "Nope, it went through." I am all O_o but whatever. I get a receipt, like normal. The charge shows up on my statement as normal. I am positive I did not enter the correct PIN.

So... buhwha? Is it possible to enter a PIN incorrectly and have the computer just go, "Meh, whatever, he looks honest"? I am less concerned than wildly curious.

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    Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    So here's what happened:

    I am at a pizza place, ordering a pizza. I go to pay via ATM card. I am instructed to enter my PIN. I enter it incorrectly. I know this is the case because my PIN is 6 digits and I only entered 5 (and the display only showed 5 asterisks worth of digits entered), because my finger slipped and completely missed the keypad on the last digit. Nevertheless, finger momentum carried me forward and I hit Enter before I caught myself. I am telling the cashier, "Whoops, I muffed my PIN, I'll have to re-enter it." She tells me, "Nope, it went through." I am all O_o but whatever. I get a receipt, like normal. The charge shows up on my statement as normal. I am positive I did not enter the correct PIN.

    So... buhwha? Is it possible to enter a PIN incorrectly and have the computer just go, "Meh, whatever, he looks honest"? I am less concerned than wildly curious.

    Was it charged as debit?

    I am guessing some POS systems could have the cashier switch the payment type to credit, which would need no pin.

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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    If your bank uses Visa or MC for debit cards, a merchant doesn't need the PIN to process a transaction. They may simply request it on all debit card transactions because some (mostly smaller) banks still issue traditional ATM cards rather than all-purpose debit, and this makes for less work. All you need is the information on the mag strip (and with most processing systems all you need is the 16 digit card #, the expiration, and the CVV code)

    I am unfamiliar with the technical stuff behind all that but I've been swipin' and punchin' cards into various payment systems for like a decade.

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    pacbowlpacbowl Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    I'm familiar with the technical stuff behind all that and I would call your bank and ask them what's up. Then I would try a few more smaller transactions and intentionally enter your pin wrong to see if it goes through. If it really used your pin then it should have been declined. I test this kind of stuff all the time.

    Most POS systems have an option to either tender a debit card as credit or debit. The only difference being is that the debit tender will ask for the pin and requires the correct encryption on the pinpad. If either the pin or the encryption is bad it should be declined. If it's tendered as credit card it won't. Both methods will take the money out of your account right away as it's not a true credit card.

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    evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    I vaguely remember that many debit card systems can only take in 4 digits and drop anything that comes after.

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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I vaguely remember that many debit card systems can only take in 4 digits and drop anything that comes after.

    ^ This ^

    I don't suppose you know the brand name of the terminal, Jeffe? Last I checked, Monaris's machines still only care about the first 4 digits (because it used to be that debit pins were universally 4 digits long).

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    I vaguely remember that many debit card systems can only take in 4 digits and drop anything that comes after.

    ^ This ^

    I don't suppose you know the brand name of the terminal, Jeffe? Last I checked, Monaris's machines still only care about the first 4 digits (because it used to be that debit pins were universally 4 digits long).

    Yeah this sounds like it. I remember typing in 5 numbers (while my pin is 4) and it going through. It's probably that.

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