A PIN is a personal identification number used for security purposes.

These are most frequently found on credit and debit cards, and were traditionally used at ATM machines for a user to confirm their identity.

However, since the advent of Chip & Pin, many retailers require cardholders to type their PIN when they make purchases in shops, restaurants and bars.

By the end of 2005 most credit and debit card transactions, where a consumer has been issued with a chip and PIN card and is present during the transaction, will be verified by PIN rather than by signing a paper receipt.

People will be required to use PIN, where possible, from February 2006.

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