Web Culture


Mark O'Neill 10-10-2012

How Safe Is Your PIN? [INFOGRAPHIC] atmpin Ah, the trusty PIN number, the 4 digits that separates you from your money. We use our bank PIN number in a wide variety of situations, whether it’s taking money out of the ATM machine or paying with our card in a shop. But you would be amazed (or perhaps not) at the stupidity of some people when it comes to the 4 digits they need to keep secret the most. For it seems that a lot of people seem to have this irresistible urge to tell everyone their number or make it extremely easy to figure out. Then they probably wonder where their money disappeared to.


For example, the most preferred number is 1234. Now if I was a devious thief wanting to relieve you of your cash, that would be the first PIN I would try. But the hits just keep on rolling. The next preferred number is 1111 followed by 0000. Or perhaps you might have your birth year as your PIN? Or better yet, the fiendishly clever plan of disguising it as the last 4 digits of a fake phone number in your wallet? Whatever happened to getting 4 non-random digits and memorising them?

Let us know how seriously (or not) you take your PIN number? Do you resort to one of the easy methods outlined below in our infographic, or do you have a complex PIN that no-one will get, and which would make peoples heads explode if they tried to figure it out?  Maybe you work in a bank and you have some hilarious PIN-related stories to share?

Infographic Source: www.backgroundcheck.org

Image Credit: ATM Machine Keypad Numbers via Shutterstock.com

Related topics: Infographic, Money Management, Online Banking.

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  1. rodrigo giannoni
    February 14, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    You can install a stand up desk. That s what i have. it s awesome"!

  2. Diane @InEx Finance
    October 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    That's a cool infographic. I would have never thought that so many people still use the 1234 combination for ther PINs

  3. Douglas Mutay
    October 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    What will happen if someone from my bank is actually a hacker and check those pin? Feel insecured...

  4. Raghav Gupta
    October 15, 2012 at 6:34 am

    no one can guess my pin :P

  5. Anonymous
    October 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    my pin is 6-digit and not a reference to any part of my life (the number simply popped out of my head), and i still memorised it.

  6. Maulya Agustini
    October 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Only have debit card and confused password! And even I'm the one who made the password sometimes forgot... :P

  7. kesting nesting
    October 14, 2012 at 6:55 am

    in my country the bank assigns an unmodifiable PIN.
    since they hold your money, i guess you trust them to set it.
    why would a bank allow people to choose their own PINs ? (kind of dumb)

    • Tim Brookes
      October 15, 2012 at 5:04 am

      Because then you can change it when you want (more secure), or to a number you'll actually remember (save you calling the bank all the time).

      Your email provider lets you change your password whenever you want, and your email is your life - your identity, access to your bank, your online services, shopping sites; it's arguably more important than your bank account. Would you say that was kind of dumb too?

  8. ion popa
    October 12, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Followed Mikko Hypponen's advice ( https://twitter.com/mikko/status/254288673393213440 ); good idea or not?

  9. Yash Desai
    October 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    banks should have pattern unlocks

    • Anonymous
      October 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      that's the same thing as choosing a number. i like to imagine the keypad as a pattern grid, which is why i usually don't include a 0 in my pin.

  10. Mac Witty
    October 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    ”The best type of PIN to have is something that isn’t memorable in any way”
    1. how can a sequence of 4 digits not be memorable?
    2. How can anything not memorable be used?

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      What I meant was don't choose something which is memorable to a potential thief. If your birth year is 1970 (for example), choosing 1970 as your PIN is stupid because that is the first thing they will try. In that respect, it is memorable.

      But obviously choose something which you will be able to memorise in your head. Writing it down is the last thing you should do. The one place a thief can't access your PIN is in your head (unless they have invented some kind of revolutionary mind reading machine, in which case we're all in deep doo-doo!!)

  11. Greg Frye
    October 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Great infographic, has promoted some interesting comments.

  12. Stephanie w
    October 11, 2012 at 10:01 am

    This is useful information. This infograph was a little hard to read though.

  13. Adrian Rea
    October 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    I personally would have preferred a 6 digit number but that's just me. perhaps the next infographic could show the different levels of encryption various companies use to the point that some banks use no encryption at all with data sent over phone lines, yet many credit cards use very high encryption. Also there is the fact that if you have a card you think has been duplicated and the pin copied, never destroy it or cut through it, especially the magnetic strip or the chip EVEN IF THE BANK TELLS YOU TO after a fraud notification. The card holds data on when the real card was used and if someone else has copied your card and seen your pin, then you can prove that your actual card was not used fraudulently. Cut it up and the band can claim you spent the money yourself or did not keep your PIN secure enough.

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

      That's interesting. Where did you hear that?

  14. Edwin Williams
    October 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    One of the best infographics! It really simplifies everything!

  15. Muhammad Ahmad
    October 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    and how about this one. I have heard that when some one try to rob you at atm, you can enter your pin but in reverse order and an alarm machine starts ringing to alert security. is this right?

    • Rob
      October 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      No this is not true. How would it tell if your PIN was reversed, if your PIN was something like 1221 or 4444?

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

      LOL. I have no idea as I have never worked for a bank. Neither have I been robbed at an ATM (knocking on wood).

      But Rob makes a good point. So I guess that means there is no alarm. There's always shouting for help at the top of your lungs though. That's a pretty good alarm :-)

      • Anonymous
        October 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        You'll risk losing your life doing that.

  16. Joel Lee
    October 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I just memorize my PIN codes through muscle memory. If I have to enter them using a normal keyboard, I have to type on an invisible keypad to remember them... Lol.

  17. Craig
    October 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Very cool!

  18. Arron Walker
    October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I know pin number is redundant, but I can't help saying it anyway. Still, sharing this around - very useful.

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Why is it redundant? What could replace it to protect your money? I think we're an awful long way off from palm prints and iris scanners.

      • Arron Walker
        October 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

        I mean saying pin number, because you're saying number twice, personal identification number number. That's what I mean; I know I'm saying an idiot thing, but I just automatically attach the word number at the end of pin when I speak.

        • Mark O'Neill
          October 11, 2012 at 9:10 am

          Actually you make a pretty good point. That's not stupid at all.

  19. Rhonda Callow
    October 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Great infographic!

  20. Robert Soar
    October 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Pet hate - "Pin nimber" - Personal Identification Number number!

    • Lee
      October 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Me too!

  21. Bumferry Hogart
    October 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Very good. nobody will ever my PIN number because its 4991.... joking!

    • Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo
      October 11, 2012 at 10:46 am

      1994 in reverse?

  22. Alex Perkins
    October 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Some people I know make their PIN add up to a certain number. Is that secure?

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      The only secure PIN is one where the numbers are not in any kind of sequence. If the numbers are truly random, then it is much safer.

  23. Mihovil Pletikos
    October 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    great help for amateur thieves :)

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Not really. If people don't have one of the easy numbers, then they have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if they choose to have a PIN of 1234, then they deserve to get hacked, quite frankly.

  24. Sushil Kathpalia
    October 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Well in this post , you leaked many info about PIN or may your PIN as well :p

    • Mark O'Neill
      October 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      No, my PIN number is not one of the easy ones. Mine is one assigned to me by my bank and I memorised it.

      • Juan Carlos Espinosa Agudelo
        October 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

        *brofist* we're part of the 77%! :D

        (now everyone who's reading knows we're either bluffing or they have the 'advantage' of knowing that our PIN isn't one of the mentioned ones :P)

  25. Vipul Jain
    October 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I just love Infographics!! :thumbsup: