An Update On The Chip And PIN Credit Card Question

As the title suggests, there’s an update to the do chip and PIN credit cards have a problem with blind people question from a couple of days ago.

The best answer I can give after go rounds with the bank and with TD Visa is that I still haven’t a clue, and I won’t get to find out. I’m not the biggest fan of how we got there, but I think in the end it turned out as well as it could have.

The person at the bank who helped do the PIN revealing thing seemed to understand the problem of buttonless PIN pads, but wasn’t aware of them being an everywhere thing much like a couple of commenters said and Carin and I suspected. She suggested that we talk to the people at TD Visa, which we had to do anyway to fully activate the card.

This is where things went a little sideways. The activation person had no good answer, so sent us over to customer service when his job was done. Makes sense. But there was…let’s call it a language barrier in the way once we got there. It took a couple of attempts before the woman had even the vaguest idea of what we wanted, and even then it was wrong. She appeared to make the classic assumption that PIN pads equal automatic bad, forgetting that the blind person on the other end of the call likely dialed in on a keypad.

She talked to a supervisor to see what could be done, and when she came back on the line a process had been started to disable the chip and PIN features and to send out the old style magnetic strip cards, even though that hadn’t at all been asked for. There was much woe woe woe wait whatting, at which point she talked to the supervisor again and things were kinda sorta fixed.

I guess TD Visa has run into this issue before, because they didn’t take long to come up with something completely sensible. What they’re doing is sending out a new card, so the one I just got is useless though I should still be able to use the one I’ve been using for the last few years. They’re sending a chip capable card so that it will work even after they start phasing out the older swipe and sign machines. But when it reads the chip, rather than asking for a PIN, the screen will say sign only and I’ll have to sign the receipt.

It’s a decent combination of the new and old systems, I figure. My card is modern enough not to throw anybody for a loop, and since the sign only command is given from on high by the Visa gods rather than by stupid ‘ol me, it’ll be harder to get turned away when I do run into a buttonless pad. I’d have preferred to keep the PIN option for situations when I could use it but have a sign option when I can’t, but this really does make more sense and should save me potential trouble (see Gods, Visa).

So that’s where we are. I’m awaiting both my new card and the first time a clerk thinks the store’s machine is broken and I get to explain it. I know it’s bound to happen, and I bet it won’t take long seeing as it’s pretty much Christmas shopping season. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for everybody, but if nothing else you know that there is a workaround if you choose to ask for one…and possibly even if you don’t.

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