Credsticks and SIN's are intimately tied together in SR - for many people in Shadowrun, your credstick is your SIN, or at least your means of proving who you are.
There are two kinds of Credstick available – Regular, and Certified.
A regular credstick accesses an account on the Matrix. That account is connected to an identity and SIN, and as a result that stick can also be used to identify oneself as the person who holds that SIN.
The SIN can be either a real one or a false one. With a false one, depending on the quality of the fake + the security level of the credstick reader + size of the transaction being made - it may be identified as false. With results ranging from indifference to getting shot to death by security, depending on the circumstances.
Real or false, the user has to confirm their identity in one of several ways, depending on the transaction limit on the stick. This also means there's a limit to how false identities can actually be. In order for a user to identify correctly to use the credstick, the credstick has to have information that actually matches the file with the bank. This isn't a particular problem with standard sticks that merely require the user to know the correct passcode, but the higher-limit sticks require increasing amounts of the user's actual personal information to be on file, ranging from fingerprints at the low end to full cellular scans for the unlimited ebony credsticks.
Having that information in the database can mean that if forensics finds fingerprints or skin flakes or other evidence (voiceprints and retinal scans are more difficult, but not impossible, to leave behind) at the scene of a crime, they can search the database and link that information to a SIN or SINs and flag those for attention when they're next used. Whether the name associated with the SIN is the one the user's parents gave them is pretty much irrelevant at that point.
Certified credsticks are different - the bank account they draw from is not associated with any particular identity. Possession of the credstick grants access to the account, and the stick can simply be handed off to another person. This has obvious advantages for shadowrunners, and they will probably want to do most of their business with certified sticks. They can't be used for identification, however, because they aren't associated with any identity.
It is still possible to follow transactions through certified credsticks and flag sticks associated with known criminal transactions for attention. So money laundering is still a useful occupation. It's just much more difficult with certified cred than with regular credsticks, and the lack of actual identity data associated with it reduces the number of ways it can become associated with criminal activity.
Credstick and Transaction Levels
|Type||Transaction Limit||Required Identification|
|Silver||20,000¥||Fingerprint (Minimum Lvl 3-4 fake SIN)|
|Gold||200,000¥||Voiceprint (Minimum 4-5 fake SIN)|
|Platinum||1,000,000¥||Retinal Scan (Minimum Lvl 5 fake SIN)|
|Ebony||Unlimited||Cellular Scan (Minimum Lvl 6 fake SIN)|
The level of the SIN equals the difficulty of anyone who wishes to check it out will need. The cost is due to hiring a decker to set up the ID for you – lvl 1-3 are fairly cheap, because they're not designed to hold up to real scrutiny or official review.
Lvl 4-6 start jumping up in price because they include creating the required retinal scans, DNA and birth records, creating all the appropriate cross-references into other databases and background history to ensure it sets up no red flags to either computer or human review. The cost of removing (or hiding) your actual SIN from the registry is not included.
Yes, you can have more than one of these if you want.
Level 1 SIN (Pass a casual glace at Stuffer Shack from a bored checkout operator at 2am) ¥2000
Level 2 SIN (Pass at mundane, non-corporate or government locations) ¥4000
Level 3 SIN (Will be accepted by DocWagon - Basic Contract/cursory glance Lone star) ¥8000
Level 4 SIN (Will be accepted by DocWagon - Gold Contract) ¥36000 - This will pass most checks
Level 5 SIN (Will be accepted by DocWagon - Platinium Contract) ¥90000 Will pass most Megacorp Security Checks
Level 6 SIN (Will be accepted by DocWagon - SuperPlatinum) ¥162000 Will pass most Red+ Government checks
Level 7 SIN - ¥288000 and up, assuming you can find a decker who can make one. These are the very finest currently known and incredibly difficult to obtain, as few deckers have the skill or patience to create these mythical creations of utter perfection. It is believed only the most paranoid and well-funded corps or governments can field the man power to create these, and reserve it for the most deep-cover agents and operatives.