Choose Pen Over PIN Posted on January 22, 2012

Confused if you should use the “debit” or “credit” option after swiping your debit card in the checkout lane? Both transaction types are authorized. Both contain fraud protections and can be tracked using online banking and your monthly statement. And, both withdraw funds from your checking account. Is there really a difference?

Yes! There are several key differences between “credit” and “debit” such as merchant fees, dispute assistance, and even your available checking account balance. And, while there are benefits on both sides, you have the maximum advantage when you choose “credit”—even when you’re using a debit card.

Key advantages of selecting credit:
  • Choosing credit allows you to sign for purchases. Your signature grants you greater protection on your purchases such as assistance with merchant disputes from your card issuer.
  • Credit transactions usually clear your checking account within two to three days; however, the funds are placed on hold immediately.
  • You usually avoid transaction fees that are associated with using a debit transaction.
Should I ever select debit?

Sure! If you would like to get cash back at the store, this is when you should opt for a “debit” transaction over a “credit” transaction.

So, save your PIN for ATM use and select “credit” when you’re at the mall, gas station, or grocery store. You’ll find the pen is mightier than the PIN.

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