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?

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

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

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Videos

Video: Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet vs. Softcard — a mobile wallet review tried out Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Softcard to see how they stack up against each other — and your old-fashioned wallet

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 5th, 2020
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.