I see my debit card and it is limited to 9999 +999 +99 combinations depending on how I use the card. But if the code was alphanumeric as well as had access to special characters the security barrier would be much more insurmountable for the casual cracker. They why don't the banks or whoever is in charge of debit card technology do that ?

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    Because the banks's losses aren't high enough to motivate this change, especially since they can pass a lot of the risk to the merchant.
    – keshlam
    Dec 22, 2016 at 1:44
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    Would a more complicated code really be that much more secure? AFAIK (I've never been motivated to actually try it, you understand), you only get to input a few tries - usually 3, I think - before the system locks the card out. It's not like you can steal a card, then stand at an ATM for hours trying 1111, 1112, 1113... until you hit the right code.
    – jamesqf
    Dec 22, 2016 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


Because a gazillion pin-pads all over the world would need to be replaced with full keyboards.

Also, they would be unusable in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, etc.
Most Asian countries have learned to use 0-9 on a keypad, but imagine the issues with a full keyboard.

  • upped although do not agree, we do have unicode and could be used. I do agree it would make the system a bit complex.
    – shirish
    Dec 22, 2016 at 0:33
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    @shirish unicode is a storage format. If my PIN is English A [it will be unicode 0041]. In Arabic Key pad there will be no Key Pad with A. They have Alif [ unicode 0627]. Now in Arab countries, if someone chooses PIN as Alif ... when he travels to Europe, how will he enter this? So all countries should support all languages on keyboard !!!
    – Dheer
    Dec 22, 2016 at 3:54
  • yes, hadn't thought of that, you are right, so it comes down to the existing way :(
    – shirish
    Dec 22, 2016 at 7:17

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