Using Your Debit as Credit

Woman paying with credit card at store

Using Your Debit as Credit

It’s a simple question you’re asked when purchasing a product with a card. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Debit = PIN

When using your card as a debit, the money leaves your account immediately, and depending on the merchant, you may be allowed to get cash back. However, because using your card as a debit requires you to use a PIN, you are more susceptible to fraud if someone steals your card and has your PIN.

Benefits of Credit

Using your debit card as credit (signing for your transaction) usually shows as pending until the transaction actually posts on your account which could take up to 5 days. The money still comes out of your checking account, but because you don’t have to enter your PIN, the transaction is covered under the VISA’s Zero Liability Policy that guarantees you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your account or account information. You’re protected if your Visa debit or credit card is lost, stolen or fraudulently used, online or offline. Signing for your transaction as credit also earns extra awards points that can be redeemed for cash – it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Ask to Use Credit

Debit is just a name, not a requirement for how you have to use the card.  So, when you use your debit card and the machine automatically asks for your PIN, ask for credit or to sign for your purchase.    It’s usually as simple as pressing the red button, the green button or selecting sign for purchase.  When you’re making a purchase at the grocery store, ask the clerk to use your card as credit. When you’re at the gas station and the machine asks if your card is debit or credit, choose credit and enter your zip code rather than entering your PIN for a debit transaction.

Credit Wins

Unless you need cash back at the time of purchase, we recommend using your debit card as credit. You can easily earn extra award points for purchases and in the event that your card is compromised, you may be better protected.

Still confused on what to choose? Here’s a brief video to help you decide.


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