The legal significance of PINs in banking

Chun Yau, Clement SHUM, Sai Hong KO

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This paper explores the legal nature of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and the legal position when it is voluntarily or involuntarily disclosed to a third party. It also comments on the legality of the standard form contracts that contain terms relating to the use of PINs. It will be argued that the common law should now regard a PIN as a signature, in light of the development of modern information technology. Further, a PIN holder owes a duty of care to his bank when using his PIN. However, if the PIN disclosure is obtained from the holder by unconscionable or deceptive means, the holder should not be held liable for any consequential losses. Moreover, a bank has a duty to warn its customers of any criminal act which may be practised upon a PIN holder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalHong Kong Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


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