Are Payment Card Contracts Unfair?


Steven J. Murdoch, Ingolf Becker, Ruba Abu-Salma, Ross Anderson, Nicholas Bohm, Alice Hutchings, M. Angela Sasse, Gianluca Stringhini


Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC), February 2016


Fraud victims are often refused a refund by their bank on the grounds that they failed to comply with their bank’s terms and conditions about PIN safety. We, therefore, conducted a survey of how many PINs people have, and how they manage them. We found that while only a third of PINs are ever changed, almost half of bank customers write at least one PIN down. We also found bank conditions that are too vague to test, or even contradictory on whether PINs could be shared across cards. Yet, some hazardous practices are not forbidden by many banks: of the 22.9% who re-use PINs across devices, half also use their bank PINs on their mobile phones. We conclude that many bank contracts fail a simple test of reasonableness, and ‘strong authentication’, as required by the Payment Services Directive II, should include usability testing.


  title     = {{Are Payment Card Contracts Unfair?}},
  author    = {Murdoch, Steven J. and Becker, Ingolf and Abu-Salma, Ruba and Anderson, Ross and Bohm, Nicholas and Hutchings, Alice and Sasse, M. Angela and Stringhini, Gianluca},
  booktitle = {Financial Cryptography and Data Security},
  series    = {FC},
  month     = {February},
  year      = {2016},
  address   = {Barbados},
  publisher = {Springer}