Video: Debit cards - PIN vs. signature at checkout


When you swipe or insert a debit card, you get the option debit or credit. What’s the difference?

It’s in how the transaction gets processed.

When you choose debit, you enter a pin and the amount is deducted from your account almost immediately – like an ATM withdrawal. When you choose credit, you usually have to sign a receipt or screen. And since it goes through the credit card processing network, it can take a day or two for it to show up on your account. And don’t worry – even though the prompt may say “credit,” you won’t pay any interest. The money still comes from your checking account.

You may want to choose credit if you’re traveling or shopping online and want better fraud protection or if you have a rewards program through your checking account that requires the credit option.

You’ll want to choose debit if you plan to ask for cash back from the merchant, or if you want to save the merchant money, since credit card transaction fees are higher on credit than on debit.

So, next time you’re asked whether you want to use debit or credit with your debit card, you can make the decision with confidence.


See related: Video: How EMV chips are made, Video: Protect your identity in ways chip cards can't

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Updated: 02-19-2019