Easier to remember and harder to crack, are emoji PIN codes the next move in banking security?

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A British start-up has come up with an inventive new way of dealing with modern banking and the problems over how to come up with a better PIN code when taking money out of an ATM or using a credit card – by replacing the numbers with emoji.

The small icons, Intelligent Environments argues, are actually easier to remember than a four-digit number, while also being complex and varied, making it significantly more difficult for someone to steal. Having crunched the numbers on probabilities, the company claims that there are 7,290 permutations of four non-repeating numbers, but when it comes to employing emoji for the same task, there are 3,498,308 from a selection of just 44 icons.

Intelligent Environments quotes memory expert Tony Buzan as having said: “The Emoji Passcode plays to humans’ extraordinary ability to remember pictures, which is anchored in our evolutionary history. We remember more information when it’s in pictorial form, that’s why the Emoji Passcode is better than traditional PINs.” 

As of now, no banks appear to have signed up to this rather unusual concept of safer banking, so it will probably be quite some time before – if ever – we actually need to look over our shoulders at the ATM while typing smiley, wink, rosy cheeks, medical mask to take out a crisp €50 note.

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