credit vs. debit


Coffee shop employee handing a credit card back to the customer.

We’ve all done it. We’re out shopping, ready to use our Debit Cards, and the clerk asks, “debit or credit?” We really don’t know what the difference is. It’s a Debit Card, so we say “debit,” right? Wrong.

So save your Personal Identification Number (PIN) for ATM use and say “credit” (and sign your name for the transaction) when you’re at the mall, gas station, or grocery store.

how does this benefit YOU?

By signing your name instead of using a PIN, it reduces your risk of identity theft and fraud – PLUS, you earn ScoreCard bonus points that can be redeemed for merchandise, travel, and experience rewards. With a PIN, money for the transaction comes out of your account immediately, and with a signature, funds do not clear your account for a few days - allowing you to earn a couple of extra days of dividends if you have BlueOx eXclusive Checking.

how has this changed with EMV Chip Cards?

The way a transaction is processed as debit or credit has not changed, but the method of selecting one versus the other has. Because each merchant’s terminal is different, we encourage you to ask at the time of purchase, “How do I select credit?”

merchant pressure

Merchants often encourage consumers to pay with a PIN. Card readers may be programmed to request a PIN, for example, forcing consumers to take a few seconds longer to push a “credit” button or asking the clerk to enable a signature-based transaction. While merchants tend to prefer PINs, credit unions and other card issuers usually prefer signature-based purchases. That’s because credit unions are paid a small amount known as an “interchange income” when members choose the “credit” option for Debit Card purchases. This helps offset and lower costs and allows the Credit Union to offer lower rates and other free services to members.

If you have any questions about selecting “credit” vs. “debit,” please call or text us anytime at (800) 648-8035

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