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Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Definition - What does Personal Identification Number (PIN) mean?

A personal identification number (PIN) is a secure alphanumeric or numeric code used for authenticated access to a system. A PIN serves as a validation tool for users of various types of networks and systems, such as computer networks, credit/debit cards, and mobile phones. PINs are used across multiple sectors, including banking, payment processing, and communications.

The PIN provides security when a credit/debit card is lost or stolen because the PIN must be known prior to making money withdrawal.

Techopedia explains Personal Identification Number (PIN)

The PIN provides the following benefits:

  • Provides accessibility to multiple types of network systems and websites.
  • Facilitates information privacy management, while preventing unauthorized access due to lost credit/debit cards or usernames/passwords.

PINs are assigned to users for secure authentication. For example, a user presents a credit/debit card for payment and enters a PIN number to complete the transaction. If the user enters an invalid PIN, he or she is allowed a limited number of authentication attempts. Vendors and banks may confiscate credit/debit cards when a valid PIN is not provided within a certain number of attempts.

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