Payment through cards has become increasingly popular in India. To maintain security and keep up with the changing times, the Reserve Bank of India has mandated debit card holders to punch in their PIN numbers during every transaction from December 1.

Here are some things you need to know about debit card usage:

1) The RBI rule was first enforced in June 2013 to act as an additional layer of security in transactions. However, banks had requested for some time to update the back-end infrastructure. The RBI had then extended the deadline to November 30.

2) As part of the rule, customers will now to have punch in the PIN number after the card has been swiped or inserted in the small point-of-sales (PoS) terminal. This is the small machine that shops and merchants use for the payment. Once the PIN has been entered, you will get the transaction charge slip, which has to be signed.

3) If the PoS terminal is not updated to ask for PIN, and the transaction proceeds without it, then the bank will decline the transaction.

4) The PIN being used here is the same that a customer uses at an ATM or Automated Teller Machine to withdraw money. Do not get confused with the ‘transaction password’ used for online banking.

5) You will get only three chances at punching the right PIN number. After that, your transaction will automatically be cancelled. If you manage to remember your PIN number after three attempts, you can still use your debit card. However, the transaction will have to be started all over again from scratch.

6) If you have forgotten your PIN number, call your bank to order for a duplicate PIN number. You will, however, have to verify your personal details like address, email id, date of birth, etc., for security purposes. This will be posted to your address within 7-10 working days.

7) This rule is mainly for debit cards being used for physical transactions only. There is no change in the way internet transactions are undertaken. The rules for credit cards too remain unchanged.

8) This is part of the measures undertaken to deal with frauds and security breaches. Other measures include addition of an Europay, MasterCard or Visa chip on the card, establishment of real-time fraud monitoring system, limit on transactions, immediate notifications, etc.

9) There are over 36 crore debit cards being used in India to conduct as many as 5.54 crore merchandise transactions per month amounting to Rs 8,017.86 crore. There are as many as 52 crore transactions being conducted using ATMs in a month, as per the latest RBI data.

10) In contrast, there are 1.8 million credit cards in use. The total number of transactions being conducted at PoS counters too is less at 4.14 crore. However, the total value of transactions is higher than that for debit cards at Rs 10,748 crore.

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