If you haven’t had new cards or messages from your bank recently, it may be time to check in with them.

The final deadline for the long roll-out of chip and PIN (personal identification number) in the UAE is 31 December.

If your credit or debit card is not set up for chip and PIN, it will be deactivated and you won’t be able to use it from 1 January 2015.

Your bank should be giving you, if it hasn’t already, a new credit card or debit card with an embedded microchip requiring the user to enter a PIN code to pay with the card.

[Related: ATM fraud: Scams and how to stay safe | Have you been a victim of credit card fraud? | How your credit card protects your purchases]

UAE card-holders will need to enter a six-digit PIN code to make any purchases with their cards.

The code is checked against the one stored on the card; if both match, the transaction will go through.

The system has been gradually coming in, bank by bank, since 2009, when the Central Bank first announced the scheme.

It has proven very successful elsewhere in the world in reducing fraud.

[Compare UAE credit cards | Compare UAE bank accounts]

Chip and PIN FAQs

What is Chip and PIN?
Chip and PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a smart card payment system that provides an extra level of security on your credit card. The chip securely stores confidential information such as your card number. This chip, together with your PIN (Personal Identification Number), helps protect you against fraud.

Why is creating a PIN important?
With Chip and PIN enabled cards, you must use your PIN (generally four digits) when making a purchase. The PIN is a secret code you create, that is known only to you. This added security feature will ensure reduced chances of fraud on your card. Your PIN should be kept safe at all times and should not be shared with anyone, even at your bank.

How can I create or change my PIN?

You will need to get in touch with your bank, as different banks provide different options – you may be able to do it using your bank’s automated phone banking system (never directly with a human bank representative), online logged into your bank account, at an ATM machine or using a special handheld machine, like a point of sale device, at a bank branch.

When do I need to use my PIN?
When you are shopping, the merchant will have a Chip and PIN-ready terminal that they will use to process the transaction.

  1. Give your card to the cashier, who will insert it into the card reader
  2. The cashier will key in the amount to be paid
  3. The cashier will hand the device to you to enter your PIN. Make sure no one can see what you type.
  4. Your PIN will be accepted, the receipt printed and your card given back to you.

Can anyone see my PIN?

Be very careful when typing your PIN into a merchant’s payment terminal – especially if the machine does not have a guard to hide what you are typing. Some machines come on a moveable arm that you can turn so it faces only you. You may feel dramatic doing it, but it is safest to hide what you are typing with your hands to keep your PIN safe, especially from anyone you feel is loitering or is too close to you when you pay.

When might I be asked for my signature?
The merchant may ask you to sign rather than use Chip and PIN if they do not have Point of Sale (POS) terminals that are enabled for Chip and PIN transactions, especially overseas. If that is the case, your card’s magnetic stripe will normally be swiped and then you will sign. Rarely, you may find that Chip and PIN does not work when you are traveling overseas, even if it is enabled.

What if someone asks me for my PIN?
Your PIN should never be shared with anyone and you are advised not to write it down. Your bank will NEVER ask you to reveal your PIN. If someone claims to be your bank and calls you asking for your PIN, hang up immediately and contact your bank.