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Visa to go PIN-only for security reasons

Visa cardholders will not be able to use their signatures when paying for goods and services from October this year, as a measure of security.

The company says more than 96% of Visa transactions already use PIN (Personal Identification Numbers) over signatures in New Zealand.

Visa will be encouraging all cardholders with New Zealand issued cards to PIN instead of sign. There will be no change to Visa payWave, phone and internet transactions.

Visa country manager for New Zealand and South Pacific Caroline Ada says the move is part of a security plan to strengthen payment security.

“This is about taking better advantage of the chip technology on Visa cards, which is the international standard that provides the most security for electronic payments today," Ms Ada says. 

The change applies to Visa cardholders with New Zealand-issued cards only. There will be no change for visitors to New Zealand using overseas-issued Visa cards.

Bars and restaurants will be given an extra year to accommodate the change, patrons can still sign for their bills up until October 2015.

Mastercard NZ country manager Peter Chisnall says his company has no plans to make using PINs compulsory. 

He says there is no need as most customers had already made the decision to use PINs.