Australian retailers: Here’s what you need to know about PINwise and how it affects your customers


Heads up Aussie retailers: beginning 1 August 2014, the PIN will be the main form of card payment authorisation in Australia. This means that for the most part, your customers will no longer be able to use their signature to verify or authorise credit, charge, and debit card transactions at point-of-sale. The final cut off for ALL signature payments is the 1st of October.

The date is fast approaching, so if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to educate your customers and yourself about this upcoming change. Here are some of the basics to get you up to speed:

Why ditch the pen for a PIN?

This change is brought to us by PINwise, “an initiative of the Australian payments card industry to encourage the use of PIN instead of signature.”

The initiative is pushing to replace signatures with PIN codes because the latter is much more secure. Having a PIN keeps customers safe from fraud in case their cards get lost or stolen. Unlike signatures, which can be forged, a PIN code is harder to crack.


Does this apply to ALL transactions?

Nope. There are some exceptions to the PIN requirement, including:

  • Contactless transactions (Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass or American Express Contactless) under $100
  • Certain transactions under $35
  • Transactions from most unattended POS terminals like vending machines, parking meters, and kiosks
  • Transactions by customers whose cards are issued by banks outside Australia (e.g tourists)
  • Transactions from payment cards that don’t have a chip
  • Transactions from signature only cards

Vend Tip – Integrated payments with Tyro

Does your store support contactless payments yet? If not, you should definitely look into it, especially if you process a lot of transactions under $100 and want to make it faster and easier for your customers to pay for their purchases. Find out how you can implement this with Vend and Tyro.

How can you educate your customers?

The use of PINs is already pretty widespread in Australia, but you should still take the steps to ensure that your customers are aware that signature authorisation is on its way out. One of the best ways to do this is to train your staff to promote the PIN.

Currently, a lot of merchants ask customers to “PIN or sign” at checkout. With the big change right around the corner, it’s best to tell cashiers to emphasise PINs over signatures.

Also, the PINwise website has some great promotional and educational materials for download. Click here to get your hands on PINwise artwork, posters, flyers, counter wobblers, and tent cards for your store.

We’ve pretty much covered the basics of PINwise here, but if you need more information, you can visit You can also contact the financial institution that handles your credit card transactions for additional details about the initiative.



About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.