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Online Banking Department of Redundancy Department

"PIN Number" is one of those things that really annoys me. Personal Identification Number Number. Grrrr. ATM Machine is another good one, although that one is thankfully less common here in the UK. After a story from a friend about a discussion with a member of staff in a bank about this very issue, I considered the following:

Which of the high street banks in the UK use the phrases "PIN Number" and "ATM Machine" on their websites?

"None", I hoped, thinking that such huge banks would surely have some employees with more than a handful of brain cells between them in charge of making sure their content is not full of illiterate schoolboy english. Sadly, it was not to be.

After literally several whole minutes of research I came up with this list of UK high street banks with internet presences. It's certainly not exhaustive, but I mostly do have better things to do than be overly pedantic on the internet. Honest.

The results

First up, the results for "PIN Number". All these figures are taken from a Google UK search in June 2008.

  1. LloydsTSB - 31 pages
  2. Nationwide - 14 pages
  3. Barclays - 8 pages
  4. Natwest - 8 pages
  5. Co-operative - 3 pages
  6. HSBC - 3 pages
  7. Halifax - 3 pages
  8. Yorkshire - 3 pages
  9. Alliance and Leicester - 2 pages
  10. Clydesdale Bank - 1 page

Notable by their absence are First Direct and Abbey.

Natwest deserve a special mention for getting 'PIN number' into the new software on their ATM machines (see what I did there?) - thanks to dmc for pointing this out.

PIN number fail

Searching for "Personal PIN" was less exciting with only Barclays scoring at all, and only with a single page.

"ATM Machine" was slightly more exciting, but only just:

  1. Barclays - 2 pages
  2. Alliance and Leicester - 1 page

I was disappointed to see that "personal PIN number" didn't find any results across my selection of banks, so I turned to the wider internet. 11,900 results, but a reassuring number of those are at least mocking the "personal PIN number" thing.

Still, to prove that fuckwittery knows no bounds, we have Virgin Money to save the day with this page - under "how do I register" we have the festering turd of 'personal PIN number'.

Disappointingly the BBC News website also deserves a kicking with an article on credit card fraud which also uses the magical phrase:

The introduction of chip and pin cards aimed to cut down on credit card fraud in stores by asking shoppers to verify their identity with a confidential personal pin number, instead of a signature.

A disappointing result indeed. I was pleased to note no occurrences of "Automatic ATM" or "Automated ATM" on my test selection. I'd be interested to see if this holds true for American banks.


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