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Many automated credit card readers require the card to be inserted in a specific orientationi.e., stripe up
or down, and on the left or right hand side. Unfortunately, there's no easy and instantly clear way to
indicate the correct orientation. Even if there's an image of the card as a guide, translating
into a 3D orientation is a difficult task for many people to perform quickly, which often leads to frustrating
and time-consuming misreads.
There should be a standardized set of four symbols that are printed on every card, with each symbol near a
short edge on the top and bottom. These symbols would be simple graphics that are rotationally
asymmetrical. For example, a crescent, a T shape, a P shape, and a U shape. One of these symbols would
be printed next to the card slot on the reader. You simply find the matching symbol on the card and insert
that edge into the reader. The lack of rotational symmetry ensures that if you're looking at the matching
symbol, you have the card oriented correctly for that particular reader.
Chip and Pin Changeover?
Don't bet on it. [MechE, Aug 04 2014]
||If they all just decided to make it so you can read the CC then it would be (almost) natural. Machines where the face doesn't face the customer directly, the orientation would be based on the most natural right-handed (sorry lefties) movement for insertion. Alas.
||I think this solves a problem that doesn't exist.
Every ATM, every car-park payment machine, and
every point-of-sale card reader I've ever used takes
the cards in the same orientation: chip uppermost
and furthest from you. You've found machines that
||Very few cards in the U.S. have chips, and of those
that do almost none of them are actually visible on
the card. Virtually all card processing is done by
magnetic stripe, and although there are a few
machines that can accept the card in any
orientation, most require it to be inserted correctly
or they'll respond with a simple unable to read card
error. It seems that most often the reader requires
the card to be face up with the stripe on the
right side, but there are a fair number of them that
require the stripe on the left (i.e. rotated 180
degrees), and I came across a parking machine this
morning that required the card to be *flipped* so the
stripe was face up, which threw me for a loop and
inspired this idea.
||Ah, right. Well, I'm sure the US will update to chip-
n-pin soon, at which point the problem will be
||Let me guess, the parking machine also used mag-
stripe tickets with the stripe "up". I've run across
those recently, and it drives me nuts.
||Of course we've also got the swipe through
vertical on the face of the system, where it is not
clear if the stripe should be left or right (I've seen
||[MB] This one is US-centric I think, since I've never
seen a European system that did anything unusual
in this case, even with mag-stripes (always down
and on the right edge for insertion, mag stripe
right or down for swiping). Both of these are
more common in the US, but not absolute.
||//Let me guess, the parking machine also used mag-
stripe tickets with the stripe "up".//
||Yep, and it's not confusing for the ticket of course,
because the tickets all have an arrow on one edge
shows which way to insert them.
||//I'm sure the US will update to chip- n-pin soon//
||I dunno, that sounds European, and therefore
||"Chip-and-pin" isn't particularly secure, so I doubt
we'll change over any time soon. The next big thing
will probably be two channel authentication on smart
phones. One encrypted authorization over the cell
network and one over the ATM/POS network.
||//"Chip-and-pin" isn't particularly secure// true,
but it's generally securer than magnetic stripes
(and shedloads safer than signatures). Plus, the
same chip infrastructure can implement more
||Not sure the same can be said of contactless
||Payment by phone is already the main means of
transaction in many African countries, and is also
||Incidentally, what happens when Americans travel
to Europe? Do machines here still recognize old
magnetic stripe cards?
||Everywhere I've been (Britain, Multiple points in
the EU proper, Switzerland and Gibraltar) ATMs
will recognize mag-stripe cards, and POS units
have a swipe somewhere on them (although in a
couple of more rural spots the users haven't
||The one place I've had real trouble was with the
Swiss Rail vending machines, which absolutely
require a PIN, which at least some US banks will
allow you to set up (mine originally exists for US
Service members [I inherited access from my dad]
so it may be a little atypical in this regard).
||//ATMs will recognize mag-stripe cards// Do you
still need to use a PIN?
||ATMs in the US use PINs, so no issue there.
Obviously there's no internal authentication on the
card, but the system accepts it. I'll admit, I've never
tried to do a cash advance against my credit card,
but I would assume the PIN (that I got specifically to
travel in Europe) would allow that as well, but as I
said, most USians don't have PINs for their credit
||//I said, most USians don't have PINs for their credit
||Instead, authentication is provided by the mandatory
ID card system cleverly disguised as a driver's license.
||Anyway, why not cater for all eventualities, simply
put a magnetic strip on the top and bottom of both
||The younger aspiring drinkers do have fake IDs.
They don't look like US driver's licenses though.
Making/Having one of those would get you in a lot
of trouble, and you'd get caught, many bars swipe
the licenses so they have to be good fakes
physically and electronically.
||It's perfectly fine, however, to manufacture a
VERY convincing copy of a UK driver's license. This
is annoying. Because it means no one believed my
legitimate UK version.
||There isn't a US standard for IDs (well, the RealID Act,
but a lot of states are refusing to comply). For the
most part non-compliant states are the ones that had
more secure IDs to start with, but the variation
means that people can venue shop for fake IDs. That
won't always work for card fraud, however, as some
situation uses zip code for verification as well.
||There really is a very strong argument for chipping
each person at birth. Immigration, alcohol
purchases, criminal records, card purchases, corpse
identification, medical records, targetted
advertising... everything would be immensely
simplified. Counterarguments would have to be
||Not in this country they wouldn't. You don't have anti-vaxers, birthers, and Ted Nugent fans as a significant population base.