There are many credit card companies that will offer you cash back rewards for credit card purchases that are made using your card. For a lot of those companies, if you use the credit card as a debit card you will miss out on some of those rewards and also have to pay transaction fees. The credit card companies encourage the use of non-pin transactions because it helps to fight against and prevent fraud. If you are asked to enter a pin number for your purchase, then you can be certain that the purchase is being counted as a debit card transaction instead of a credit card transaction, since credit card transactions do not require pin numbers.
Credit Versus Debit Transactions
Historically in the United States, debit card transactions have been PIN based and credit card transactions have been signature based. Today, however, most of the major credit card companies including Visa and Mastercard allow their networks to be used for debit as well as credit card transactions. As a consumer, you have the option of paying via debit or credit with the same card. You can typically choose to sign or enter a PIN at the cash register.
How to Pay By Credit
To make sure you're using your card as a credit, look at the Point of Sale or POS machine to see if there is a "credit" option to pay for your purchase. Most POS machines will have debit and credit buttons. If you can't see the POS machine, ask the sales representative whether or not there is a "Credit Card" option for payment. If there is, swipe the magnetic stripe that is on the back of your credit card through the POS machine. All you have to do then is sign the credit card receipt to complete your credit card payment.
Things to Watch Out For
If you're using your card as a credit card, be sure to keep the "customer copy" of the receipt for your records. You will need this to reconcile the transaction with your credit card statement when it arrives at the end of the month. Be aware that many locations will only require you to sign for your purchase if the purchase amount is more than $25 and some will not require a signature at all; where a signature is not required, swiping your card should suffice. As long as you selected the "credit" option at the point of sale, the transaction will still count with your credit card company as a credit card purchase.