[2023 Guide] Do Credit Cards Have Pins? How Do They Work?

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Updated: Apr 07, 2023
author photo Written by Patrick MooreUpdated: Apr 07, 2023
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You probably have a pin for your debit card, and are wondering, do credit cards also have pins? The answer is yes! Over the years, there have been changes in how credit cards are processed, and recent technology has introduced chips and pins.

CreditYelp is your trusted broker to help you find the ideal credit cards based on your reality. Ensure you follow this ultimate guide closely to know everything about credit card pins.

What is a credit card PIN?

A credit card PIN is a unique four-digit code chosen by you or assigned to you to prove the ownership of your credit card. It will be required to verify your identity whenever a purchase is made with your card and is an added security to your signature and card’s EMV chip. 

While a signature can be forged easily, a PIN makes your card less susceptible to fraudulent activities if lost or stolen because thieves and hackers will have a hard time guessing your four-digit code.

In what situation might you need a credit card PIN?

Generally, you don’t need a credit card PIN for transactions in the United States. To use your credit card, you simply insert or slide your card through the card reader and then sign on the sales receipt for your purchase.

Some merchants might not even require you to sign. You would, however, need a PIN when you need to get cash advances and when you want to make purchases in a foreign country.

Situation 1: Cash Advance

A Cash advance is a short-term loan obtained from a credit card company, usually with high-interest rates and fees. When you obtain a cash advance, you are borrowing against your credit limit. It is an attractive option for borrowers because of its fast approval and quick funding feature. 

Types of cash advances include credit card advances, merchant cash advances, and payday loans. Credit card cash advances are the most popular, and you can get them at an ATM.

Here, your credit card pin will be needed. You will need to provide a pin to verify that you own your card, and the cash advance won’t be processed if you don’t provide it.

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Steps to get and use your credit card:

  1. Check out and compare credit card issuers.
  2. Pick a credit card cash advance option that suits you.
  3. Determine how much cash you can withdraw
  4. Once you have a pin for your card, you can visit any ATM to withdraw cash when needed.

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  • We have numerous credit card issuers options for you.
  • You have access to lower interest rates
  • There are no annual fees attached to our services
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  • We have the tempting introductory/welcome offer
  • You can access a higher credit limit

Situation 2: Credit Card Purchases Abroad

You are likely to need a credit card PIN when making purchases abroad with your credit card. Although this largely depends on the country, the card issuer, and the payment mechanism.

In Europe, most cards have implemented chip-and-pin technology. This means that while some card readers will accept your credit card as it is or generate a receipt for you to append your signature, others will require you to enter your pin to approve your transactions.

For example, you might have difficulty making payments at luggage lockers, parking garages, toll roads, ticket machines for public transportation, self-checkout supermarkets, unmanned kiosks at train stations, and other auto-payment stations without a credit card PIN.  

However, with US Visa and Master cards, you can sometimes skip entering your pin by pressing the ‘Enter’ or ‘Cancel’ options. 

To be in the safest position, you should ask your bank for your PIN and test it before you go to another country. You might need to inform your bank to authorize your card for overseas use. You could also have some cash on you when traveling abroad in case you find yourself in a situation where your card fails to work.

How to Find and Create a credit card PIN

You probably would not have a PIN if you did not set up a credit card pin when you opened your credit card account for the first time. However, depending on your card issuer, you can still get one. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to find or create a credit card PIN.

Method 1 - Check paperwork from your issuer

Even without requesting, your credit card PIN could have been sent by your issuer along with your credit card paperwork. PINs are usually shipped in a separate envelope from your credit card for security reasons. 

Make sure to check the paperwork from your credit card issuer when you get a new card for a confidential document containing your PIN. You can use this PIN for a few initial transactions, but you must change it as soon as possible and not share it with anybody.

Method 2 - Look for your bank’s website or app

If your PIN was not included in the paperwork, you could get it online either through your bank’s official website or mobile app.

If you are already signed up for online banking, look for the ‘Manage card’ tab or its equivalent on your bank’s website and select ‘View PIN’.

You will be asked to verify some information on your card, then an OTP (one-time password) will be sent either to your registered phone number or email address. When you enter the correct password, your PIN will be displayed.

You can also retrieve your PIN by downloading your bank’s banking app. Look for the ‘Manage card’ tab or its equivalent on the app and select ‘View PIN’. After selecting the relevant card, tap and hold the ‘Reveal PIN’ option to see your PIN.

Method 3 - Contact your issuer by phone or Go to the bank branch

You can also find or create your pin by visiting your nearest bank branch or contacting your issuer by phone. While you won’t be told your PIN over the phone, you can request that a new one be mailed to your home address. 

If you visit the bank, you will need to submit a request for your PIN generation. Your bank will then verify your details and process your request. However, if you know your existing PIN and simply want to change it, you might be able to change your credit card PIN by visiting an ATM.

What to do if I can’t make purchases with a credit card without a PIN

  • Use an alternative payment source, like cash or a debit card.

It's good to keep some cash handy when a payment machine doesn’t accept your card. You could also use your debit card if you have issues with your credit card.’

  • Buy the product online.

Purchases can be made online via their websites or with payment applications with other means of verification like your credit card number or fingerprint instead of a PIN.

  • Go to a 7-Eleven or Western Union and take out a money order.

You can obtain cash advances from a 7-Eleven or Western union if you can’t use an ATM because you don't have a pin.

  • Make an online wire transfer from your credit card account to your checking account.

If you don’t have enough money in your checking account, you can make an online transfer of funds from your credit card account into it.

2022 Best credit cards with chip and PIN security

Best Overall: Chase Freedom Unlimited

If you are searching for a chip-and-pin credit card with amazing rewards and no annual fees, then Chase Freedom Unlimited is your best bet. 

With Chase Freedom Unlimited, you enjoy cash-back rewards that do not expire as long as the account is active. You earn 3% cash back on restaurants, 5% on travels booked through Chase, 3% on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on other purchases.  

If you normally use rideshare services, you can get 5% total cash back rewards on Lyft services purchased via the Lyft app until March 31, 2025. 

There is also a signup bonus where you earn an additional 1.5% cash back on the reward rates above (on up to $20,000 spent in the first calendar year). This implies that a cash-back of 5%, 3%, and 1.5% becomes 6.5%, 4.5%, and 3% simultaneously.

Best for Groceries: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express card is also a chip-and-pin credit card with no annual fees. It is one of the best options to earn rewards on everyday spending, and it has a welcome offer that comes in two parts. 

You can earn $100 when you spend up to $2000 within the first six months of your new card membership, plus about $150 cash-back via Paypal purchases in your first six months as a cardholder.

You also earn up to 3% cash back on groceries, gas, and retail purchases of up to $6,000 per year (then 1% afterward) and 1% cash back on other purchases. The cashback from this card can be redeemed in your account as statement credits.

Best for Travel: Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card has an annual fee of $95, yet there are rewards to enjoy. You enjoy about 50000 online bonus points ($500 in value) when you make at least $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account.

You are also required to spend an average amount of $1,000 every month for the first three months to enjoy the Premium Rewards card bonus.

With this card, Preferred Reward Members earn up to 75% more points on each purchase. You can also earn about 2.5 - 3.5 points on every $1 spent on travel and dining and 1.87 - 2.62 points on every $1 spent on other purchases.


Q1: What Is a Chip-And-PIN Card?

This is a type of credit card whose holder must approve a transaction with it by providing a four-digit code called a PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Unlike the much older magnetic stripe cards, a Chip-And-Pin card has a data-enabled square-shaped microchip that generates and records the information of every transaction. It doesn’t require customers to sign a receipt to complete a transaction; the PIN serves as another layer of security for the card.

Q2:How do chip and PIN cards work?

A chip-and-pin card has a metallic microchip that contains payment data. To use it, you simply insert your card into the merchant’s point of sale (POS) device for it to read the microchip. The device then prompts the customer to input their pin to authorize the transaction. 

If the pin provided doesn’t match the data in the microchip, the transaction is declined. One reason why it is more secure than magnetic stripe cards is that a pin is required for payment authorization. Also, the data in the microchip is protected by cryptography and thus difficult to hack.

Q3: Is it safe to use a chip and PIN credit card?

Compared with the outdated magnetic stripe cards, Chip and PIN credit cards are significantly safer because a unique, encrypted code is generated every time you initiate a transaction. The code protects the credit card number and other details such that any data derived during a transaction is useless to potential hackers or thieves. 

The safety of a chip and PIN credit card becomes compromised only when a third party knows your PIN. If you suspect that your PIN is known by someone who should not, you can change it to keep your funds safe.

Q4: What to do if your credit card is used for fraudulent purchases?

If you are suspicious that your credit card pin has been compromised or you have confirmed that you are a victim of credit card fraud because you see charges on your card that you did not make, do not panic. 

Instead, take these steps immediately: call your credit card company to notify them that your card is being used for fraudulent acts; change your passwords and PIN; contact the credit bureau to freeze the credit card account; monitor your credit reports and card statements, and remove the card details from your online shopping accounts.

Q5:Credit Card PIN vs. Debit Card PIN

Credit card PINs and debit card PINs are essentially the same. They are both four-digit numbers created or assigned to you to provide when you want to make transactions with either your debit or credit card. They both help to verify your identity and protect your account from theft or unauthorized access.

However, in the U.S., the most significant difference between credit and debit card PINs is that you will be required to provide your debit card PIN for transactions more often than for the credit card. The reverse is more often the case in other countries.

Q6: What if my credit card company does not support chip-and-PIN transactions?

Most credit card issuers have already adopted the EMV standards, thus, supporting chip and pin transactions. However, not all credit card issuers allow the same pin for all kinds of transactions. 

For example, a credit card issuer like HSBC requires you to use separate PINs for cash advances and purchases. If you think you need to activate chip and PIN transactions on your credit card because you'll be traveling abroad, you should check in with your card issuer for a resolution.


This article gives an in-depth answer to the question, do credit cards have pins? It explains what a credit card PIN is and highlights the situation you might need it. It also provides a step-by-step guide on how to find and create a credit card pin. 

Furthermore, it explains alternative solutions to make purchases when you can’t use your credit card without a pin and the best credit cards with chip and PIN security to obtain in 2022. With CreditYelp, you are sure to seamlessly find the Credit Card with the good rates that suit your needs.

author photo

Written by

Patrick Moore


Patrick Moore is an expert contributor and lead editor at CreditYelp, specializing in credit card news, personal finance advice, and entrepreneurship.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
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