Lame Credit Card Zip Code Security

Why is it that all gas stations seem to require your zip code to validate your credit card at the pump?

Requiring me to type my zip code is a poor user experience and extremely poor security. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the United States only has around 40,000 zip codes. Zip codes are not only finite they are trivial to guess. A thief with any intelligence at all will know the relative location he/she accrued the credit card. Narrowing the zip codes to less than 10 because the average American only commutes 16 miles. More than likely the thief will steal the whole wallet or purse and already have the zip code off the ID. A five digit PIN would offer higher security by providing 100,000 possible combinations and making it impossible to guess by geographical location.

I began programming in C++ when I was in college. Odd for a business major, but hey I am a Dork. After college I got a job as System Administrator. As a System Administrator I was in charge of web administration. My journey as a PHP web developer had begun. Since that time I have gained an in depth knowledge of CSS, Javascript, XML and MySQL. With changes and advances to technology I have also began learning AJAX. I started Blue Fire Development to do freelance work in my spare time.

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3 Comments on “Lame Credit Card Zip Code Security

  1. Ever since I moved to Canada I realised how far behind the US banks are. Our debit cards REQUIRE a PIN (four digit or otherwise, but four-digit is best if you’re going to travel to the US), they can’t just be swiped as a Visa or Mastercard. Most of our credit cards (it’s being phased in) also have a chip so instead of swiping them, you stick them in the machine that reads the chip. When a company has this type of reader a PIN is also required to use your credit card. I actually ran into a restaurant in Scotland two years ago that didn’t even accept “regular” credit cards (ones without the chip).

    It’s also annoying for me in the states if I want to use a Canadian card and it asks for a zip code . . . ours are six digits and have three numbers and three letters so it’s kind of not possible. Instead I have to go into the gas station and get a five digit code from them and then go back out. It’s ridiculously complicated. As you say, having a PIN would make a LOT more sense.

  2. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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