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That’s An… Interesting Security Measure

, , , | Working | May 5, 2022

Several times a year, I make rather long round trips in my vehicle. I stop at the same gas stations every time and use my credit card to pay for the gas.

All of the stations want extra information when I try paying at the pump for the gas. Usually, the requested info is my zip code. No problem. However, recently, some stations want a PIN (which is normally assigned to debit cards). Since I pay with a credit card, no PIN is available, and a couple of additional button presses get around this request, and the pump is turned ON.

However, one station decided to go further. It asked for a PIN but did not turn the pump ON unless the PIN was provided, even though credit cards have no PIN. Eventually, after several tries, the display told me to “prepay inside”. So, I went inside, left my card with the attendant, and filled my tank. The attendant never asked for a PIN.

After recovering my card and signing the card payment device, I checked to assure the bill was correct. It was, and there appear to be no unwanted charges added to my card bill.

Me: “Prepaying inside with a credit card that should have been accepted at the pump is rather strange, isn’t it? Credit cards have no PIN.”

Attendant: “There were some false payments using credit cards, and the new system prevents future false payments.”

Me: “If I used my debit card and PIN at the pump, I would not have to come inside to prepay?”

Attendant: “Yes.”

I really wonder about their understanding of card safety, since the only real difference was me scribbling my name on the inside device.

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