A 4-6 digit code is frequently used as a replacement to username and password to quickly return users into the application. It is usually referred to as pin.

I began to wonder whether the correct spelling is a "PIN" as it is an abbreviation of Personal Identification Number, or whether it is a reference to physical lock pins and therefore should be spelt as "pin" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pin_tumbler_lock).

Turns out that it is a difficult topic to research and after spending half an hour I couldn't find a definitive answer on Google. The spelling that I find on different websites is very inconsistent.

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Looks like the code used in ATM is referred to as Personal Identification Number which I find strange as I would've thought that Personal Identification Number should be static while the card access code could be changed by the user at any time.

1 Answer 1


I believe normally people would assume a PIN to be an abbreviation of a personal identification number, however I think your confusion might come from how you're interpreting what personal identification means.

It sounds like your conflating a PIN with a unique identifier for a person, and whilst I can understand that logic, it's not what the personal identification means in this context.

Personal Identification in the context of the PIN is about verifying the identity of the person is who they say they are. Anyone could have your bank card, but without being able to verify that they are the person who has access to use the card, they wouldn't be able to withdraw money from the account.

  • 2
    That must be it. Thanks for that! Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 0:41

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