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Do Credit Cards Have PINs? How To Protect Your Money in 2024

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Christy Rodriguez
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Christy Rodriguez

Travel & Finance Content Contributor

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After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a cer...
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Nick Ellis

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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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When you use your credit card, you generally don’t need a PIN (personal identification number) to make a purchase. But there are a few instances where you might need a PIN for your credit card, such as getting a cash advance.

We’ll let you know which transactions require a PIN, why it’s needed, how to check if your card already has a PIN, and how to request a new PIN if you need one.

Let’s dive right in!

What Is a Credit Card PIN?

A PIN is a 4-digit code that adds another layer of security to transactions — in addition to other features like your EMV chip, CVV code, and signature. Although it’s common to use a PIN when you use your debit card, most transactions using a credit card don’t require a PIN.

Generally, you won’t need a PIN for most purchases made in the U.S. You can usually just slide, insert, or tap your card. Online purchases also won’t require a PIN, but usually ask you to provide the 3- or 4-digit CVV to confirm your identity.

When You Might Need a Credit Card PIN

There are 2 common reasons why a PIN might be required for your credit card:

  1. When traveling internationally, automated stations may require a PIN (such as at a train station)
  2. To take out a cash advance using your credit card

Can You Get a Cash Advance Without a PIN?

hundred dollar bills
If you need a cash advance from your credit card, you’ll need to know your card’s PIN. Image Credit: Giorgio Trovato via Unsplash

If you’re wondering if you can use your credit card at an ATM to get cash — in short, no. You need a PIN to take out a cash advance using your credit card.

You’ll either need to go to a branch of your bank and present the credit card along with your photo ID or go to a company like Western Union or MoneyGram to get your cash advance.

Bottom Line:

To make it a bit more confusing, your cash advance PIN may be different from the PIN you’d need for purchases. For example, Chase doesn’t allow you to make purchases using your cash advance PIN.

How To Find a Credit Card PIN

If you were provided a PIN when you received your card, check the correspondence from your bank. Your PIN could be included in this information. Depending on your bank, you may also be able to see your PIN in your online account portal.

If you don’t know your credit card’s PIN, you’ll have to reach out to the issuing bank, such as Chase or American Express. This will be the case if you received a PIN and lost it or never set up one.

Common credit card issuer customer service phone numbers include:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Card IssuerCustomer Service Phone Number
American Express844-460-6656
Capital One800-227-4825
Chase800-297-4970
Citi800-950-5114
Discover800-347-2683

How To Set Up Your Credit Card’s PIN

You can request your PIN by calling the number listed on the back of your card. PINs usually can’t be provided over the phone but will be mailed to the address on file. This means that you’ll generally need to call the bank at least a week or 2 in advance of when you need your PIN in order to make sure that it has time to arrive in the mail.

Depending on your card issuer, you may also be able to receive the PIN via text or email.

Hot Tip:

Banks will use the address, phone number, or email address on file to send you your PIN. Make sure the information in your bank account is current before requesting your PIN.

How To Change Your Credit Card’s PIN

If you’ve lost or forgotten your card’s PIN, you’ll need to request a new one from your bank. This can be done via the same process we’ve noted above.

But what if the number is just something hard to remember and you want to change it? Some cards let you pick your PIN, but generally, PINs are automatically generated by your card issuer.

Which Credit Cards Offer a PIN?

Even if you don’t know your card’s PIN, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get one. Sometimes when you are setting up your card, you are given the option to set up a PIN or decline.

Most cards come with “chip-and-PIN” technology. For example, popular cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Citi Strata Premier℠ Card, and The Platinum Card® from American Express all offer chip-and-PIN technology. You may get a PIN upon request or automatically upon card issuance.

Hot Tip:

If you’re traveling internationally or plan to use your card to take out a cash advance, it’s a good idea to check if your card offers a PIN before you need access to your money. You would hate to be abroad or need that cash and be out of luck!

Alternatives if Your Card Doesn’t Offer a Credit Card PIN

If you’re traveling internationally and a PIN is required, look for a cashier instead. Automated kiosks may not be an option with your credit card if you don’t have a PIN.

If you’re hoping to get a cash advance using your credit card, try some of the strategies we’ve listed above.

Bottom Line:

If you frequently run into instances where you need a credit card PIN, you can always apply for a card with no annual fee, such as the Freedom Unlimited card we noted above.

Final Thoughts

While credit card PINs aren’t common in the U.S., there are a couple of situations in which you might need one, namely, when getting a cash advance using your credit card or with some purchases abroad.

Whether your card came with a PIN and you don’t remember, or you need to set up a new PIN, you’ll need to reach out to your credit card issuer to request this information.

The information regarding the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find my PIN for a credit card?

Many banks offer access to a credit card’s PIN in your online account. If you can’t locate it there, give the number on the back of your credit card a call, and customer service should be able to help you locate or reset your credit card’s PIN.

Can I use a credit card without a PIN?

Most purchases — at least within the U.S. — don’t require a credit card PIN. The primary reasons you’d need a credit card PIN are to take out a cash advance and to use your credit card at automated kiosks internationally. If you don’t plan on doing either of these things, it’s unlikely you’d need to know or set up a credit card PIN.

Why do credit cards not have PINs?

While debit cards have PINs, credit cards are equipped with other security features (such as the EMV chip, signature, and CVV codes) to confirm your identity. There are only a few instances where a PIN is required for credit card purchases.

How many numbers in a security PIN on a credit card?

A PIN is 4 numbers, either set by the bank or chosen by the cardholder. This isn’t noted anywhere on the card but must be remembered. This PIN code is needed to make a few purchases internationally or take out a cash advance using a credit card.

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About Christy Rodriguez

After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a certified CPA.

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