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28 Sep

Never again a forgotten PIN-code


Date: 2016-09-28 12:00 Comments: 0 st

If I recall it correctly it was when I gave a lecture at a Rotary-meeting a few years ago, that a man came up to me and excitedly said, "I have to tell you a smart trick I use so that I do not have to remember the PIN-code for my credit card for petrol.”.

This really caught my attention, as I am familiar with this need to remember PIN-codes myself. Although I only have a handful of cards I use regularly, there are some PINs I am often a tad nervous when entering into the PIN pad.

I have occasionally forgotten both the code for my petrol credit card as well as my phone, and it always results in a lot of time-consuming fixing which I would preferably avoid. My bank- and debit card codes are not a problem, but my petrol-company will for instance not let me choose my own PIN when renewing the card, which then forces me to remember a new code with every new card.

Write the code on the card (!)
Back to the Rotary meeting. The man eager to share the tip probably wanted to shock me when he blurted out "I write the code on the card."

When he saw my skeptically raised eyebrows, he continued:
"Well, this how it’s done. I have chosen a phrase that contains ten letters, such as 'read things’. The ten letters represent the ten digits from 0 to 9. The PIN I receive I then translate into the corresponding letters.  I can then without concern or worries write the four-digit letter-combination that remains on the card, since you need the code-phrase to decipher the code.”

I think this is very clever. (Personally though, I would write the cipher in a note on my cell phone instead of directly on the card.)

Do this
If you want your PIN-codes written down so you do not have to remember them and still be able to feel confident that they will not fall into the wrong hands, then do this:

  1. Find a phrase with ten characters that will constitute your key-phrase. If you have trouble deciding what the best phrase to use could be, think of a few and let chance help you choose one by pulling one of the suggestions written on pieces of paper out of your closed palm.

  2. Choose one of your PIN-codes and translate it into letters using the key-phrase.

  3. Write the PIN-letter code on a small piece of paper which you keep in your wallet or in a note on your cell phone so that you can easily access the code whenever you forget it.

One alternative to this trick is using an encrypted password service such as 1Password or LastPass.

Simply easier card-management
If you in this way or in some other way, keep track of what PIN-codes you have got, you will not have any troubles with ordering new codes, cut your card in pieces and make a cash withdrawal when it is definitely an inconvenience doing so. You easily avoid one of the everyday-life situations which is unnecessarily time-consuming and will have more time for what you really need to concentrate on.

How do you remember?
How do you remember your PIN-codes? Leave a comment and share your tip.

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