When you step up to the cash register with debit card in hand, you have more options than you may have realized. Pressing the “credit” key or the “debit” key on the terminal will result in different types of payment transactions. Customers often find advantages to pressing the “credit” key on their debit cards.
When you press the “debit” key on the terminal, you may incur a PIN transaction fee from your bank every time, according to the HSA Bank. PIN transaction fees may be nominal, but if you use your debit card with regularity the fees may add up quickly. By running your card as a credit card instead, you can avoid these transaction fees. In addition, some companies block debit card transactions by adding an additional fee as protection against loss. This block can be sizable and it might stay on your debit card for several days. Depending on the balance of your debit card, a block could result in overdrafts or declined payments. Running your card as a credit card avoids blocking.
Debit card transactions and credit card transactions route differently through the bank. A debit card transaction travels straight to your bank account to deduct the money, essentially finishing the process. A credit card transaction moves through the system as a credit card purchase, which affords you important protection against fraud. By using your debit card as a credit card, you’ll have zero liability for unauthorized charges. Using your debit card with the credit button also necessitates your signature for the transaction, which adds another layer of security to the process.
Funds fly out of your account immediately when you use a debit card for purchases. If you hit the credit button, a transaction will place a hold on the funds, but they won’t actually leave your account for two or three days. This delay can be advantageous if you think you might return an item.
Making purchases with a debit card is essentially the same as writing a check for something. Using your debit card with the credit function gives you leverage in the event of a dispute. If a problem with the purchase occurs, such as wrong billing amount or substandard goods, you have the option of disputing the charge through the bank. You can withhold payment for the charge -- known as a chargeback -- while the bank investigates and resolves the situation.
- HSA Bank: Frequently Asked Questions
- United States Public Interest Research Group: PIRG Consumer Fact Sheet
- USA.Visa: Visa Debit/Check Card
- River City Credit Union: Visa Check Card
- Credit.com: Credit or Debit? How to Choose at the Checkstand
- Consumer.gov. "Using Debit Cards." Accessed July 16, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "When a Company Blocks Your Credit or Debit Card." Accessed July 16, 2020.
- Element Federal Credit Union. "Debit Card Holds and Issues Explained." Accessed July 16, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "A Closer Look: Overdraft and the Impact of Opting-In," Page 1. Accessed July 16, 2020.
- MyFICO. "What Is Amounts Owed?" Accessed July 16, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards." Accessed July 16, 2020.
Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.