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ATM PIN Number Length?

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Sep 25th, 2005, 02:06 PM
  #1
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ATM PIN Number Length?


A decade ago, I was told that european ATMs could only accept cards with PINs of exactly four digits -- can anyone tell me if that is still the case?
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Sep 25th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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ATM's in Italy require 4 PIN's but not sure about the balance of Europe.
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Sep 25th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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I believe that it is safer to switch to a 4 digit number.
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Sep 25th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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Only 4 digits here in Spain
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Sep 25th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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I'm curious too. Anybody have success using a 6-digit pin?
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Sep 25th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Hello Budman, some people say that if you have a 6 digit PIN you only put the first 4 numbers into the ATM pad, and it works fine. But friends in Italy have always told me "no, no, you have to have just the 4 numbers for your ATM card". So I really don't know. I just make sure that my ATM cards have only 4 digits. Best wishes.
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Sep 25th, 2005, 05:48 PM
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was in Portugal and London in April - May 2005 - ATM card with 6 digit pin worked everywhere even in obscure areas of Northern Portugal. We use Bank of America and I called them before the trip and they told me that if the machine asked for only 4 just enter the first 4 - it worked every time.
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Sep 25th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Thanks. I have a BofA 6-digit ATM card and have never used it in Europe. I was just curious if it would work.
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Sep 25th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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Good to know, thanks. I may change it JIC.

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Sep 25th, 2005, 08:07 PM
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Four digits seemed to work the best in Italy. Also be aware that the networking of all systems is not as extensive as it is in the US.

After several long frustrating minutes trying to get cash out of one machine in Venice, (with a not very helpful error message), the problem was solved by walking to the next bank and trying it.

Seems my bankcard wasn't in their system.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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I'm resurrecting this thread because we're off to LONDON next week. We have a Bank of America ATM card with a 6-digit PIN.

A couple of folks have said the 6-digit PIN works, but others have recommended against it. Just wondering if anyone recently tried to use a 6-digit PIN in London...sounds like it does but I'd feel a lot more secure hearing from another person or two that it works.

Thanks.

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Nov 18th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Hi Hunnym,

I just returned from London on Wednesday, have a Bank of America card with six digits and it worked fine at the two cash ATMs I used, one of which was Barclays.

One thing you probably should do is notify BofA that you are going on vacation beforehand because they may otherwise put a stop on your account when you try to take out money abroad. I guess it is a security measure although it seems to me more of a hassle than anything. Anyway, this is what a rep for the bank told me when I asked about the PIN digit limit. (They also suggested I only use the first 4 digits of my PIN but that wasn't necessary.)

Have a wonderful trip! London is a marvelous city. Wish I could have stayed longer.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Hi Bud and others--re: the more than 4 digit pin.....to my knowledge, no need to change, as the European machines just recognize the 1st 4 digits..so just stop after entering those 4 digits and you should be fine...however, you might want to verify that info w/your bank!! (Re: Bank of A, my understanding is that no matter how long your PIN is, it is only the 1st 4 digits that are *actually* being registered. That info comes from a 20 something, computer savvy type..If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know)

It is, I believe, like adding extra digits to the *end* of a phone #. The call has already gone thru and the phone just disregards any extra buttons you push....
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Nov 18th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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A few years ago I was told by my bank, then Fleet, now Bank of America, to just enter the first four digits. I tried that (in Paris) and it did NOT work. So I entered the whole number and it DID work. I also used it later that year in Italy, the whole number.

Most of the time now I use another bank card because B of A charges $5 for foreign transactions and the other bank only charges $1 (I opened the account at the other bank specifically to use when traveling in Europe). That card happens to just have 4 digits so it's not an issuse. But I carry the B of A card as back up and have used it a few times in various countries, always using the entire number.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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You should open an account with USAA which charges the correct fee ($0) like in free for the first I believe 10 transactions each month and since their chequing account is free with no minimum value it is a simple matter to use bill paying procedures say on a B of A account to transfer money in as needed or simply make a transfer before leaving and writing a cheque when you return.

You have to be careful now with B of A, they have the unmitigated gall to knick your account for a declined fee..that one is a new one on my but another arrogant fee where a bank provides no services and just sticks it to its customers.

I would never use my regular bank account for ATM withdrawals...it always makes sense to have an account simply for travel and ATM's. Why? In case of fraud, and you can be defrauded unbeknownst to you by people inserting scanners into the machines and stealing your debit card info, while you will almost always get your money back it may take a while for you to discover the fraud as you cannot check balances at the ATM's...and in the interim any payments you nake on a regular basis or any cheques you might write might turn to rubber with of course the returned cheque fees and the embarassment etc. If you use an account which is specifically for the purpose of travel, you won't run into the problem.

Finally another nice thing about USAA is that in each billing cycle, they will refund the obnoxeous charge banks in the US put on for having the audacity to access your money at their machines...another one of those charges banks get away with in the US. It is a great account for travelling.
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Nov 19th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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I would get the bank to change my PIN to 4 digits and make sure it works before going overseas. If the bank couldn't or wouldn't change the PIN, I would find another bank.
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Nov 19th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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Thank you all for your info. It is duly noted!
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Nov 19th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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In the last few months I've used a Bank of America ATM card with a 6-digit pin in the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland, all with no problems.

Note that B of A is a member of the "Global ATM Alliance" which means you won't be charged a foreign transaction fee if you use ATMs of banks in the alliance. In the UK, the member bank is Barclays.
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Nov 21st, 2005, 06:40 AM
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I too always thought 4 digit pns were required in Italy. Then last month I opened an italian bank account, and they gave me a five digit pin. Go figure.
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