How a Debit Card Works
When you swipe your Debit Card to pay for a purchase, the amount is deducted automatically from your checking account. There is no longer a need to write a check or fumble for change. When you receive your Debit Card for the first time, you typically receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN) a few days later (for security purposes they are shipped separately). Keep your PIN private and memorized. Never write it down or tell it to anyone. Your PIN is used at Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) to withdraw cash or to check your balance. You can also use your PIN when you pay for purchases (called a PIN-based transaction). When you swipe your Debit Card for a PIN-based transaction, you’ll select the “Debit” option. You’ll be prompted to enter your PIN to complete your purchase. You can also SIGN to pay for purchases with your Debit Card (called a Signature based transaction). When you swipe your Debit Card for a Signature based transaction, you’ll select the “Credit” option. You’ll then be prompted to enter your Signature to complete your purchase.
No matter if you swipe your Debit Card as a PIN or Signature based transaction, your payment is still automatically deducted from your checking at the time of purchase. It is more secure to SIGN for Debit Card purchases as there is no opportunity for anyone that may be nearby to see your PIN as it’s being entered when making a payment. Each time you swipe and SIGN (Credit), the bank receives a small interchange fee.
Having trouble running your Debit Card as a Credit?
All you have to do to SIGN for your Debit Card purchases is press the “Credit” button on the machine after you swipe your card. Sometimes the machine may not display a “Credit” option for you to choose. If that happens, you can press the “Cancel” button and then press the “Credit” button when it appears or you can just tell the salesperson that you want to run your transaction as a “Credit.” They will tell you how you can SIGN for your purchase instead of using your PIN.
Debit Card Features and Benefits include:
- It’s safer than carrying cash, easier than writing checks and works with a simple little swipe.
- You don’t have to buy as many checks since you will write fewer!
- You can use it around the world.
- You can use the Cash Back option to get the cash you need from participating merchants.
- You can easily monitor your transaction details with online banking or on your statement.
- You can set up pre-authorized payments with your Debit Card at any business you pay regularly.