Chip and pin issues — and a proposed solution


Dear DMC,

Firstly, thank you for the reassurance about manhole-covers.

Secondly, I wonder whether my interest in chip and pin machines and associated behaviour modifications is eligible for a mention on the dmc website, and if so in which category?

It could be that this matter has been broached before. I apologise that I do not come to the site too often, for fear of over-stimulation.

The essence of my interest in chip and pin machines is the perplexing range of apertures for the card and the 25% chance (*) of getting it right first time in the method of insertion. It is high time there was some guidance about this, and DMC ought to start a campaign so that all businesses give prior warning about their chip and pin machines on their websites. This would enable dull men to obviate that dangerous moment of panic when confronting a machine. After all, recollection of one’s PIN code is a challenge in itself. It would also be of considerable assistance to some dull man hero who might create a local or national database that could result in useful statistics and all sorts of other benefits.

The behaviour modifications I am referring to merit much deeper research, but a significant feature is the reduction of dull conversation with the merchant as one has to concentrate one’s attention on messages emitted by the chip and pin machine. Some might perceive this as an advantage, of course, but I have always felt that, as long as the subject matter of a conversation is restricted to the terre-a-terre, dull conversation with a till operator or merchant is an essential nutrient in a dull man’s life.

I am sorry that, being dull, I have not a picture of a chip and pin machine. I am very fearful of cutting and pasting images from the web.

If you have reached the end of this e-mail, thank you for your consideration of this issue.

Kind regards,

John Allinson

(* this figure is awaiting ratification)


Dear John,

I have that problem too — not knowing which of the four possible ways to insert the card. I am in the U.S. at the moment. There is no chip and pin here but the same problem exists with ATMs and checkout counters where the customer instead of the clerk swipes the card. I am embarrassed when I insert it one of the three wrong ways. Dull men like to avoid being embarrassed.

The solution will be machines that read the card no matter which way the card is inserted.

As to which category for your email to us, it fits best in the Important Issues category.

Kind regards,



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