How to change your debit card PIN

Whether you’ve forgotten your PIN altogether or want to change it for security reasons, there are three ways you can change the PIN on your debit card.

If you know your current PIN and want to pick a new one, you can do so at your nearest ATM, online, or in-person at your financial institution. If you’ve forgotten your PIN and need a new one, you can schedule an appointment at your bank or call your institution’s designated phone number.

Changing your debit card doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do it while on your way to work at your nearest ATM!

Luckily for you, I’ll show you how to change your debit card PIN number. I’ll even show you how to recover a forgotten PIN and how to choose a safe and secure PIN number. You’ll be done in no time!

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What Is a Debit Card PIN?

PIN stands for a personal identification number. PINs are used as a security layer for electronic transactions. In particular, debit card PINs are needed to use a debit card at an ATM for withdrawals, deposits, and balance checks.

During transactions at a brick-and-mortar store, you will need your pin to select Cash Back after a purchase, as well as to confirm certain purchases. Some merchants will set a minimum limit so that PINs are not required for smaller purchases. This is up to the individual who sets up that Point-of-sale (POS) terminal.

It would be best never to input your PIN when making an online purchase. Instead, a secure website will ask for the cardholder’s name, your debit card number, and the 3-digit security code on the back of your card. This information is enough to complete an online purchase, protecting your PIN from internet thieves.

PINs are a way for electronic systems to confirm that the account holder is the person initiating the charge. It would be best to keep your PIN to yourself to help avoid fraudulent purchases. This is especially true if you ever lose your debit card.

Most banks will let you choose your PIN when setting up your debit card account. Some banks may automatically assign you a PIN that you can change later.

How Do I Change My PIN?

If you know your debit card PIN and want to change it, the easiest way to do so is by accessing your nearest ATM or changing it online. You can also do it in person at your local branch if you prefer.

Each financial institution has requirements for changing a PIN, so check with yours today to see which options they offer.

Change Your PIN at an ATM

Visit your nearest ATM, insert or scan your debit card, and enter your current PIN. Once on the home page, most ATMs will offer a “Settings” or “More Options” button. Select this button and find the option that says “Change PIN” or “Edit PIN.” Select this button and follow the prompts to change your PIN via ATM.

Change Your PIN Online

Some institutions offer online access to your account – this is likely the case if you have an electronic checking account associated with your debit card.

Sign on to your online account using your username and password. This password is likely different from your PIN and was set up when you opened your account.

Your online portal should offer an option under “Settings” or “Security” that is similar to “Reset your PIN.” Follow the prompts to reset your PIN.

Change Your PIN at Your Bank

If you prefer an in-person interaction, you can head to your bank to change your PIN. Most banks are open during office hours Monday to Friday and require an appointment. Call ahead and choose a time to go in. Make sure to bring your debit card and government-issued I.D.

How Do I Recover My PIN?

If you rarely use your PIN and have forgotten what it is, you’ll need to go to your bank in person or call their designated number to get a new PIN.

When going in person, make an appointment and bring your government-issued I.D. and debit card.

If you call your institution, most banks will generate a new PIN and send it to you in a secure format. This could be through snail-mail to the address on file or via a secured message on your banking app.

You may need to write down your PIN somewhere if you’re prone to forgetting it. To be more secure, try swapping out the numbers for their corresponding letters so that anyone who reads your note won’t know it’s a PIN. For example, instead of 1, you’d write A, instead of 2, B, and so on.

How to Choose the Safest PIN for Your Debit Card

Many people mistake choosing a PIN that is too easy to guess. Generic codes that are obvious should be avoided at all costs. These include repeating numbers (ex. 1111), consecutive numbers (ex. 1234), birth years (ex. 1990), birthdays (ex. 0711), or reversed order numbers (ex. 9876).

While we are all tempted to do so, we should not use the same PIN across different accounts. If you do this and a scammer happens to get one of your PINs, they’ll easily access all of your accounts, which would be disastrous.

So, you may be asking how to change your debit card PIN to something safe and easy to remember. The letter system we mentioned above is a great starting point. Choose a three or 4-letter word that is easy for you to remember. For example, HAT would equal PIN 8120.

Other clever PIN codes could be a series of numbers taken from your telephone, the address number of the house you grew up in, or an important date of an event unique to you – although this last one is easier to guess for those who know you well.

While it isn’t recommended to write your PIN down anywhere, be discreet about how it’s written if you must do so. Use the word form of your PIN, and do not write your bank name or the words “debit card PIN” anywhere on the same paper. If possible, don’t bring this paper with you when going to the ATM.

The safest thing to do is commit your PIN to memory as soon as possible. This is the primary way to avoid debit card fraud.

Summary: How to change your debit card PIN

As you can see, you can easily change your debit card PIN. Change your PIN by visiting an ATM, your local bank branch, or changing it through online banking. You can recover a lost PIN by contacting your bank who will verify your identity and reset your PIN.

Avoid making your new PIN something easy to guess. Avoid birthdays, birth years, consecutive numbers, or repeating numbers. Instead, choose something that is easily remembered and without significance.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.