Card/PIN Issuance

Financial institutions also assume certain fraud-related risks when issuing credit, debit, and ATM cards either in-house or under contract to third parties.  Inadequate internal controls or ineffective card and PIN issuance procedures may result in fraudulent customer transactions.  Inappropriate separation of duties that allow employees access to both customer account and PIN information exposes the institution to potential employee fraud.

Embossing and encoding blank plastic card stock, if conducted in-house, should be performed in a secure area and include inventory controls, accounting controls for the number of cards used (including test and reject cards), and dual controls for blank card stock storage.  Procedures for the interim storage and accounting of card stock should exist for all cards not under dual control.  Adequate controls should also exist for captured cards (cards confiscated by an ATM machine or elsewhere).

Accountability controls should also be established to ensure all cards initially disbursed from the storage area are either delivered to the mail area or destroyed.  Returned cards should be handled by a function independent of the mail department.  Control cards should be mailed randomly to customers and their delivery should be validated within a few days to ensure that no theft has taken place.

PIN generation should be done at the time of card issuance.  Active PIN information should be controlled, including encrypting the information on storage devices.  Access to PIN databases should be restricted on a need-to-know basis.  Staff access to PIN information should be reviewed periodically to confirm controls are current and working effectively.

The PIN should not appear in printed form, and staff members should not be able to retrieve or display a customer PIN online.  PIN mailers should be processed and delivered with the same level of security used for mailing cards, and an active PIN should never be included with the card mailed to a customer.

The PIN should not be transmitted unencrypted, and the PIN system should record the number of unsuccessful PIN entries, restricting access to a customer's account after a limited number of attempts.  If a customer forgets the PIN, he or she should select a new one rather than having staff retrieve the old one.

For institutions that outsource these functions to service providers, written agreements should define roles and responsibilities and detail control and problem resolution procedures. Effective vendor management should include a periodic review of service providers control environments and relevant internal and external audit reports.


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