Sign or PIN: people with dementia given the option

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22 July, 2014

Financial institutions including ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac will retain an option of sign only cards for people with special requirements including those with cognitive impairment, following the move to Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) as the required form of verification on all chipped Australian credit and debit cards from 1 August 2014.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Graeme Samuel AC said that he is pleased that although financial institutions believe that the use of a PIN is the more secure option, they have recognised the unique challenges of people with dementia and are offering an alternative form of verification to cater to their needs.

“The commitment by the major financial institutions to incorporate the use of a sign only card as part of the PINwise initiative comes as a relief to people with dementia and their carers,” Mr Samuel said.

“Memory loss is one of the common symptoms of dementia, and without the alternative option of a sign only card, the PINwise initiative could bring further barriers for people living with dementia to participate in everyday activities.”

Banks will implement their own eligibility criteria for customers seeking to obtain a sign only card.

“There are going to be some functional differences with the sign only cards between the banks. For example, some sign only cards may not be able to be used at Automated Teller Machines (ATM),” Mr Samuel said.

“I urge people with dementia and their carers to consult their banks about what process are in place for obtaining a sign only card as the processes will differ between banks.”

Further information about the responses of the major banks to the needs of people with dementia can be found here.