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Some friends told me that it is problematic in the USA to use cash machines when you have a 6 digit PIN on your card, because most cash machines in the USA only accept 4 digits. Therefore I have two questions:

  • How big is the fraction of cash machines that only accept 4 digits PINs? And where are the primarily located?
  • Do I have to change my PIN at home to a 4 digit PIN or are there any other useful alternatives?
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I was unaware it was possible to have a 6 digit pin. Do you know if they work in the UK? –  Stuart Oct 11 '12 at 13:58
    
In UK I used my 6 digit PIN successfully. –  RoflcoptrException Oct 11 '12 at 13:59
    
I am now curious to change my pin to 6 digits. Also what brand of card is it? visa / mastercard / amex and what type? debit / credit –  Stuart Oct 11 '12 at 14:00
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Out of personal experience, I have a card issued from HSBC which has 6 digits pin and it works in the U.S. with no problems whatssoever.. –  user1712 Oct 11 '12 at 14:11
    
South East Asia ( Singapore / Indonesia / Malaysia ) has 6 digits. UOB (Bank in Singapore ) somehow has 5 digits. –  Rudy Gunawan Oct 18 '12 at 6:09
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There seems to be a lot of discussions going back to 2005 and here is another one from 2007 on the length of PINs w.r.t. to US banks but here is the thing.

There are ATMs(Cash Machines) that are owned by banks and there are cash machines that are owned by other companies and are installed at any place you can think of the thing is there is no way to know what fractions of Cash machines are limited to 4 digits and which aren't.

Your bank may have relationships with other banks outside home country like Bank of America in the US if you look at international locations. On top of this it may have branches in those countries, so you can be reasonably sure that ATMs in your bank's "Global ATM Alliance" or their overseas branches will be able to accept 4+ digit pin.

If you come up on a standalone ATM it usually states who owns or runs them like ATMs in Duane Reade Pharmacies are run by Chase, which is as if you are going to a Chase bank branch and are unlikely to have any problems with long PINs, others may be some private companies that just placed it in the corner stores and potentially not accept any longer then 4 digits.

Also if you read the discussions I linked you can see that in some cases just first 4 digits may be enough to identify you to the ATM, so you may want to check with your bank, whether this type of scenario will work in your case.

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I can't speak for the US as a whole, but Wells Fargo, one of the large nationwide bank chains allows pins longer than 4 digits, so it may not be a hopeless endeavor to find atms which can handle a longer pin. Other large banks could have similar policies.

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