Debits cards and credit cards tend to look similar, but that does not mean they operate the same way. The biggest difference between them is that debit cards tend to operate using the money you have in your account. On the other hand, credit cards depend on the credit available to you, which means you can pay using money that is not necessarily in your account.
That said, under some circumstances, you could run a debit card as a credit card. But before you attempt running a debit card as a credit card, it helps to learn the major differences between how a debit card works and how a credit card works.
Debit Cards vs. Credit Card
Debit cards are usually linked to checking accounts. Generally, what is in that account will determine what you can spend. So, it’s like taking cash from your account and using it to achieve your financial goals. As a result, your spending is limited to what you can afford.
On the other hand, credit cards operate on a line of credit, which is available to you based on your credit history. Therefore, you can spend money you don’t have up to your credit limit. But at the end of the month, you are required to pay off your balance or risk paying interest on top of other penalties associated with late payments.
If you are struggling to keep your spending habits under control and want to live within your means, a debit card is the best option. When you use it, you don’t have to worry about accruing interest because you spent beyond your means using money that does not belong to you. You are likely to be asked for a PIN when using debit cards, so that’s something to consider if you are forgetful.
However, credit cards come in handy in areas where scamming is common because creditors provide an extra layer of identity theft protection. In addition, credit cards enable you to build your credit score, thus allowing you to access bigger loans in the future. Also, you don’t need to put in your PIN to swipe credit cards. But you need to have a high level of financial discipline to use them successfully without defaulting.
Read More: How Does a Debit Card Work?
Running a Debit Card as Credit
Is running a debit card as credit possible? Yes, it is. But you need to have a dual debit card/credit card, which may not be what you have. However, you must remember that your debit card won’t work exactly as a credit card would.
The option just gives you a lag time of two or three days before your transactions reflect in your account and money is deducted from it in full. That time may act as a grace period if the funds you were waiting for get delayed. However, if you miscalculate and your merchant processes your transactions earlier, you may be required to pay overdraft fees.
However, once you confirm that you can run your debit card as credit, you can use it. And doing so requires you to select the credit option on the customer card terminal at the point of purchase in your local store, or the “pay with credit card” option when online shopping. In case there is no such terminal at your store, you must inform the cashier you want to run your debit card as credit.
Remember, if you don’t specify you want to use your debit card as a credit card, you will need to input your PIN and funds will be deducted from your checking account.
In some instances, you may be required to present your ID to the cashier. And if you are shopping online, you'll usually get asked to include the 16-digit number printed on the front of your card as well as the three-digit or four-digit code usually found on the back of the right-hand side of the card for verification.
In addition, you may have to provide the billing address associated with your debit card. So, when you are asked for such information, comply with the instructions for faster processing of your payments.
Read More: How Do Credit Cards Work?
- Don't count on all credit transactions taking two days or longer. Depending on when the merchant processes its credit card slips, your payment may go through on the same day.
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.