ARLINGTON, Va. – Women and older consumers value being able to use a card with a personal identification number higher than any other factor, such as customer service, in a transaction. "We asked consumers to choose between a payments solution with a personal identification number and one without," wrote Scott Welham, a research associate at Collective Dynamics LLC, an Atlanta based management consulting firm specializing in cards. "The PIN option was preferred by a significant margin. The consumers who chose it indicated that they would pay an extra four cents per transaction to ensure that a PIN was in use," Wellham wrote in the American Banker. PIN based transactions have a negative reputation among many financial institutions because they earn markedly less interchange than do credit card or signature debit transactions. Consumers with higher incomes also reported a marked preference for the PIN based transactions, Wellham said. Consumers making between $100,000 and $150,000 ranked the use of PINs as the second most important factor in a transaction and those making more than $150, 000 placed it first. Consumers in all demographic groups cited greater feelings of security when using their PIN based cards as the reason for their preference.

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