Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?

By Paul Michael. Last updated 13 December 2012. 66 comments

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It’s a question I’m asked at least a few times a day when I use my check card, usually by one of those little card-reading machines (although sometimes, an actual living person asks, too). Being someone who hates the word “credit” I have always opted for “debit” and proceeded to enter my PIN number. But have I been doing it all wrong?

Most of us carry a check card these days. More convenient than checks, and safer than cash, the check card allows a vendor to take money from your checking account and deposit it in their own. And it’s quick. Often, you’ll see transactions appear on your online bank statement minutes after you have swiped the card.

Now, when you’re at the checkout of any store, you’ll be posed a question — debit or credit? And although the outcome seems the same (a deduction from your checking account), it’s a different process with different consequences, and it uses two different networks. (See also: 4 Ways to Beat Debit Card Fees)

So, let’s say you have a Visa check card. Choose credit and you’ll be asked to sign for you purchase. All signature transactions go through the Visa network, and come with the additional security offered by credit card companies. That includes fraudulent use protection and Visa’s Zero Liability Policy.

But stores really don’t like this option, which is why they ask you the “debit or credit” question. And the reason? Banks get a much larger percentage fee from the merchant or vendor when you sign for your goods, and it is an enormous source of non-traditional revenue. That’s why banks offer reward points and incentives to check card holders who choose the credit option.

On the other hand, when you choose debit, you’ll be asked for a 4-digit PIN number. This purchase is then processed through an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) system like STAR or NYCE. These networks don’t provide the additional liability protection offered by Visa. However, the store won’t incur the same hefty fee that they will have to pay if you choose credit, so stores like this option. A reader also asked a question about cash back. Only the debit/PIN# option allows this transaction, and as doing it this way avoids ATM fees, it's a good choice when you do need some cash. And it’s possible that more people choosing the debit option will equate to lower prices in stores. I say “possible” because there’s really no way to predict what stores would do with any extra savings…most likely, they’ll get passed on to the shareholders.

But whether you choose debit or credit, either method is safer than using cash or writing checks. Lose a check card and you’re covered for almost everything you lose (usually there’s a $50 out-of-pocket cost) and it’s easy to cancel cards and order new ones.  When you lose cash, you’ll probably never see it again. Checks can be easily altered and they’re also time-consuming (just think back to how you felt the last time someone paid by check for a candy bar or bottle of soda).

Back to the big question. Debit or credit?

Me, I’m going with the credit option from now on (unless I want cash back). Not only will I enjoy the added protection of something like the Visa Zero Liability Policy, but I can also take advantage of my bank’s reward programs and incentive policies. Now, it may not be as good for the store, but that’s something merchants and vendors need to negotiate.
 

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Guest's picture
Momma

I don't use Debit anymore, but not because of fees or convenience. Identity thieves have figured out ways to hack ATM machines, gas pumps, and yes even store checkout machines. So, not only do they get your credit card number when you swipe the card, they then get your PIN number when you enter it in.

Besides, most of the banks are running promotions & contests for using your card as a credit card instead of a debit card.

Guest's picture
Jenna

One other thing to keep in mind that I only learned while I was working as a bank teller (and dealing with ranting customers) some of the machines we casually swipe our cards through and pick debit are viewed by some banks as "non-bank ATM's" complete with all the rigmarole of fees from your bank (sometimes as high as $2.50) and ANOTHER fee from the card reader company (sometimes as high as $3.50!).

Balancing your checkbook is all fine and dandy - but if every time you buy a gallon of milk at the gas station on the way home you get a hidden $5 tacked onto your bill... those charges can make for a nasty surprise when you open your statement.

To this day, I always choose credit when I use my debit card - no scary surprises, and I'm protected if my card gets stolen. (The whole idea that someone has to have your pin number anymore to use a debit card is nonsense. With a single swipe you can be charged for their purchases AND any cashback they request) Better off choosing credit OR....

just carry cash.

Guest's picture
Teaspoon

If you enter credit instead of debit, can you still get cash back?

Guest's picture
Guest

Nope. If you need cash back, you need to use it as Debit. Aside from that you should follow the policy of always using your card as Credit so that you are protected and can reap any benefits your bank may be offering for doing so.

Guest's picture
jason

If you choose "Credit" when you check-out, you can not get cash back. Only if you choose "Debit" is when you can get cash back.

Guest's picture
Jason

No, the only way to get cash back is to selcet "Debit".

Paul Michael's picture

Perhaps the only time you do want to enter debit is when you want cashback. In that case, it's cheaper than using an ATM. Thanks for bringing that up, I'll make a note in the article.

Guest's picture
Steve

Why is it necessary for "other banks" to charge a fee when you use 'their' ATM (and "your" bank to charge an additional fee for using another bank's ATM), while you can get cash back on a debit card at a store without being charged a fee?

Guest's picture
Jeff

With the way a lot of grocery stores are open 24 hours a day, it's very easy to tamper with the credit card scanners on the self check out machines.

There was a large case of this in the EU where they collected millions of cards + pins accross the entire EU and made sure NOT to use them until almost 6 months later, so it was near impossible to track how they initially got the card information. Almost nothing has been done to stop this kind of attack because they don't know where to start.

Do not type your PIN in any machine. If you need need cash, do it during the day with an attendant inside your bank. Obviously if you're trashed outside a bar and just want another 20 bucks, maybe this advice will seem harsh.

Guest's picture
Jaime

My credit union charges me a fee every time I use debit (except at their ATM). So I always say credit (unless for some reason I'm getting cash, but that's rare). I'll let the store pay the fees.

I actually had a clerk (at a small boutique-style store) ask me to use debit, saying that using credit would cost them more money. I responded that using debit would cost me money and if it was a problem, I'd just make my purchases somewhere else.

Guest's picture
Chris

Change credit unions. Seriously. One of the biggest reasons to be with them is that they typically don't fee you to death, have monthly charges, etc. If you're getting hit everytime you use your debit card, you may as well bank with one of the big ones instead.

Guest's picture

I use my credit card to take advantage of the rewards and the purchase protection, and pay the balance off each month.

Guest's picture
charlie S

I try to use this method when deciding Credit or Debit... If I am purchasing something that has the chance of being returned, I use credit. Why? Because when I return something the merchant puts it directly back on my card, no questions asked. If I had used debit, 99% of the time I have been given cash on the spot, and now that's something I have to keep up with.

For all other purchases, I just randomly pick one... most of the time I do credit but when I need a quick $20, I'll do debit.

Guest's picture
Meg

You are forgetting that your bank almost certainly also offers fraudulent use protection - I believe all card companies and banks are required to limit your liability to $50 on fraudulent transactions (and most will not even charge you the $50).

So when you use "debit" you're not really giving up any protections. If the merchant charges you for the wrong amount, it's going to hit your checking account one way or the other and then you'll file a report with your bank contesting the charge. Usually your bank will front you the money back while they investigage (but not always). I'm a banker and have had many clients claim fraud and the process is the same whether they selected "debit" or "credit" at checkout as far as I know.

Personally I always select "debit" in order to help the local merchants that I frequent. As you mention, they avoid a 1-3% fee when a customer uses debit or cash. Plus the transaction hits the account sooner, helping me with budget tracking.

However if I'm making a big purchase or I'm out of town I often use "credit" in case of fraud or mistakes - that way I won't risk overdrawing my actual checking account if there's a problem.

Guest's picture

Using debit can lead to hefty ATM fees at the end of the month. Some bank charge as much as $1.50 for use a non-bank ATM. So imagine buying gas, groceries, dinner, lunch, etc over the course of a month using "debit".

Guest's picture
Meg

In my comment above I meant to say when I travel or shop unusually I use a credit CARD, not the credit option on my debit card, in order to limit access to my actual cash in case of a merchant mistake or fraud.

Guest's picture

I'm I'm getting cash back, or it's a pain in the butt system, I select debit. If the store has an easy system (credit button) I use credit. My reasoning is simple. I signed up by debit card with visa to earn rewards, but in order to get the points I have to run it as credit.

Guest's picture
eigafan

I've never encountered any fraud when using my debit card. I only use the credit option at gas stations and purposely ignore the "come indoors if you're using a debit card" signs. The only impact I've seen in regards to this method is delayed billing (one to two days before the transaction shows up on my bank account). I would love to see the thumbprint being adopted over a four digit PIN number! I saw this method being adopted in some supermarkets in Europe.

Guest's picture

Paul Michael,

You didn't mention that most debit transactions have a fee associated with them. Your readers seem to have picked up on it, but it's a pretty big point to be leaving out of the debate.

-Nate

Guest's picture

I have not used the debit option since my wife and I racked up $30 in ATM fees in a single month using our check card for groceries, gas, etc.

Guest's picture

Because of skimmers I have comtemplated using only cash. Therefore no one has access to my accounts but me. This month I did it. I went and cashed my paycheck giving up on debit/credit cards and checks too. All fees have vanished as well. No ATM fees as I took out all my check in cash. Paying my mortgage was an issue but all other bills could be paid in cash. You can see my success and problems with dealing only with cash at ChangeJarSavings.com.

Guest's picture
Scott

I am going on 110 days of a card dispute involving my debit card. I have done all my homework, but I still am at the mercy of the bank honoring the unauthorized amount. It comes down to your word against theirs when your account is compromised. If you use a debit card casually like I once did, consider opening another checking account and controlling the money you transfer to it... no overdraft protection, etc. I am waiting on $2000. Until then I am S.O.L.

Paul Michael's picture

been charged a fee for choosing debit. Neither have the people I talked to before I wrote this article, but this is an interesting point. If you are getting charged for selecting the debit option, can you let us know please which banks/merchants are responsible please? But to be fair, it's a point that makes the argument for choosing credit even stronger.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have never heard of a bank charging a fee to use your debit card. Is this a geographical thing?
Frankly any bank that did that would not get my business.

Guest's picture
Patrick

If the post above is correct that some point of sale terminals are treating pin purchases like non bank atm transaction. You need to notify the bank and maybe even file a dispute for the fee. I would. I would also notify the merchant.

I found out some banks and even some merchants charge for pin transactions, most do not . In some states, merchants can not charge a fee. Banks still can.

The reason they want debit card holders to go into the store is the merchant provider puts a larger hold on the card-when used at the pump.

Guest's picture
Amy

I almost always use credit. I don't like putting my PIN number in anywhere other than my bank.. I just feel like it's easier to "steal" and that maybe I can't count on the store to process it safely. I sort of assume that my PIN must get copied somewhere before it goes off to the ETF service and I don't know how much I can trust the store to carefully store that data.

What bugs me are stores that run your card as credit but don't require a signature... I think I've found this mostly at fast food type places like Quizno's.

Guest's picture
Lacey

In California, some gas stations (Arco/BP) charge a fee to pay with your debit card. The fee is 45 cents per transaction. They do not accept credit cards; many smaller businesses here don't take credit cards. I once asked Arco why the fee...the cashier said it's to cover the merchant costs they pay to use the ETF processing network. My bank does not charge fees for these transactions.

Guest's picture
pam munro

You will laugh, but my concern is WHEN the devit will post.
I hv alwys thought the credit option takes longer to post than the debit due to the hoops the transaction jumps thru. Any thoughts on that/

Guest's picture
Michelle

I use the debit option because I want the stores to have more money (and hopefully the local economy), rather than the banks taking a bigger cut.

Although, I've been known to use the credit option at Walmart...;-)

Guest's picture
sandy

I always did debit but I just signed up for points with my debit card that i accumulate when i use it was a credit card. since i spend that money anyway i am now earning points towards cash back (forget the dang gift cards) rewards. i love it.

Guest's picture
Bank Guy

I live in Chicago and work as a branch manager for a large national bank. A regional bank around here, TCF, charges somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.35 to $0.50 per transaction if you choose debit. I can only imagine that this is not only another way to increase bank fee income but also acts as a deterrent for customers to always use credit.

The bank I work for heavily focuses on getting customers to select credit for all their purposes. Personally, I have a rewards debit card that has an annual fee of $25 and gets me 4 points for every dollar I spend. Now some might say an annual fee on a debit card is insane but I get more than $100 back each year in gift cards.

Guest's picture

I'm with you Paul-- credit, unless cash back . . .

Guest's picture
RachelB

I have been using debit, but will reconsider after reading this thought-provoking post. Thanks for the information.

Guest's picture

I've always wondered about what the difference is, and this is one of the better explanations I've seen. Thanks for posting this. I think this makes me feel that using 'credit' is the better way to go. Good thing I've been doing so!

Guest's picture
Guest

When using a bank card both systems are probably just a vulnerable and either way you can only be liable for up to 50$ in purchases if your card is stolen and you report in a timely fashion (this means frequently checking your balances online, etc.) However, when you use credit usually you must give your card to the cashier, not only that most people will also show their ID to a cashier as well. If you think that all cashiers are honest and that they cant remember your credit card number..your wrong. Both systems are just as vulnerable to electronic theft; however, only credit requires requires this added vulnerability. I almost always use a major credit card that offers zero liability so there is no choice between debit and credit, but when I do use a bank card its debit for me..not only is it quicker but it usually posts to my account faster for easier balance tracking.

Guest's picture
Marilyn

Another thing to consider when deciding which option to choose is that many banks have different limits for debit and credit transactions. For instance, my bank has a $200 per day limit on debit purchases, but a $3000 per day limit on credit purchases. Most of the time, a transaction amount remains subtracted from your total limit amount until the transaction posts to your account, which can also affect your choice of method.

Guest's picture
Guest

I don't use debit cards because of the fees (50 cents to $2.50) and problems several friends have had when their identity/PIN was stolen and their bank accounts wiped out. Despite a claim of a $50 "fruad protection" policy, the banks (different banks) fought them both tooth and nail giving back their money (both people) even though one of the store cameras showed a tall dark skinned male at the register using my female friends debit card.

Everybody takes cash, and most stores (even local ones) still take local checks with a positive ID and phone number, don't charge you a fee, and less chance an identify thief is also going to be able to produce your drivers license. The merchant gets the cash within 3 days and doesn't get charged a fee if you write a check (unless you're foolish enough to bounce it). Those Visa Debit-Card TV ads showing the line slow down while somebody writes a check or pays cash have brainwashed people!!!

Guest's picture
Guest

with a debit card you are at the mercy of the bank as to whether or not you reported the unauthorized transaction in a "timely manner"

Legal protections with debit cards are very poor - you can be out $500 if you failed to report in a "timely manner" an unauthorized charge within 2 business days (or forfeit the entire balance in the account if you wait over 60 days)

Any other protections the debit card issuer advertises are strictly voluntary.

http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs32-paperplastic.htm

In any event, with a debit card you are waiting for your account to be reimbursed (other debits may be retured NSF in the meantime)

With a credit card, however, you are out a maximum of $50 in all circumstances.

I'm a former (reformed?) banker, and don't carry or use debit cards.

Guest's picture
Sarah

In my early post-college days, I compulsively used a credit card, spending money on beer and pizza, and wasting the rest...

The collection calls traumatized me so much, I spent the next two decades without a credit card, using strictly check cards. That changed a few months ago, when Chase had a credit card promotion, where with the first use of the card, I received $50 in cashback credit, and if I waited until I had accumulated $200, I would receive another $50 bonus.

That happened on my last statement, and the $250 check just arrived, and I have not given them a penny in interest. It feels good.

I also discovered that it made budgeting easier by leveling monthly payments that peak around the first of the month. By pre-allocating payments, and subtracting from this payment amount, it's easy to see how much I have left to spend.

This works for me now, but in my compulsive shopping days, I'm glad that I stuck to the check card (not that the banks gave me any choice).

Guest's picture
Guest

Since Visa will basicly waranty purchases I will use the credit option on higher ticket and non consumable items where a waranty may apply. The murchant pays 2% to 5% on each credit transaction which eventually will be passed on to the consumer so for food, gas and non service purchases I will continue to use debit. Thanks KK

Guest's picture

I responded that using debit would cost me money and if it was a problem, I'd just make my purchases somewhere else.

Guest's picture
loccs

IDK WHY but i cant find anywhere that says how if any much longer does it take for a transaction to post to your checking acount if charged as credit? i have some transactions that take like 2 weeks! it throws off all my spending and tracking and i find myself over drawn quite often

Guest's picture
Jim

Actually you can get cash back using a credit card.

For over 15 years I used a Discover card to get $20 cash back DAILY at a grocery store where I worked. Not only is the cash free from charges but I was earning points on it as it counted as a purchase.

My new Sam's-branded Discover card allows me to get cash back ($60 at Safeway or $100 at Sam's) however last year they changed their policy of paying points on the cash back.

To top it all off, my $1,000 yearly check from Sam's is non-taxable income!

Guest's picture
bobbie

I always use debit b/c a credit purchase takes longer to post. At my bank if a debit or credit purchase is pending for longer than 3 to 4 days (not sure exact number of days) the money is taken off of the hold and then when the purchase comes through the money comes back out of my account. Therefore my available balance goes up and down and it's very confusing...a customer service rep told me if I want to avoid this delay in processing I'm better to use debit. So that's what I've done for a while now and I've had no more problems with charges pending for days on end. I never considered the protection you get from using as a visa though.

Guest's picture
Greg Patrick

Bobbie,
It sounds like you need a bank that does instant capture with the online account info. I found out that not all banks do this. They delay posting this information online. No wonder some people do know what a memo transaction is.

To All,
If your bank does not charge you for pin transactions, use that.
Not all banks charge you for pin transactions.

As far as protection goes
For debit card with 2 business days the loss is $50.00
2 to 60 business days the loss is $500.00
60 or more business days all the money plus any overdraft.

Both MasterCard and Visa has extended there zero liability to their debit cards. If you need to claim this. You will need to request a special form from your bank. This does not apply to pin transactions. (However, I think visa interlink may be covered under this but you would have to prove it went through this network).

Regulation E requires banks to give provisional credit within 10 business day of a written dispute. They have 45 days (90 days international) to investigate

Technically it is the 11th business day (even if the bank credits you on the 10th business day, you won't be able to use tell the 11th business day.)

Another rule that is sometimes overlooked is this

for unauthorized transfers involving only your debit card number (not the loss of the card), you are liable only for transfers that occur after 60 days following the mailing of your bank statement containing the unauthorized use and before you report the loss.

For that rule above it does not matter if your card was used as a pin or a signature transaction.

Guest's picture
Shonna

I had my debit information taken and, I believe, a bogus card created. I found out on Sunday morning when I tried to use my check card and it was denied. Somebody had used up my checking account the prior evening at the Mall of America. They also paid for gas (at the pump!) but I had my check card so they must have created the card.

I went directly to the bank and filed the Reg E and filled out the written information and signed. They told me it would take 7-10 days to fix and get my money back. Since then, I've had $525 in overdraft fees and the bank has waived, on their own, all but $175. They said that after the investigation, the $175 will be put back in my account. I'll have another $105 tonight so I'll need to wait for that too.

After calling the bank again, I found out that a provisional credit will be issued within 5 days while they investigate. I submitted the paperwork on Sunday so my day count starts Monday and I should have this money by Friday. They said to call back on Thursday so they can verify that it is showing to post to my account. After the investigation is considered closed (up to 90 days), I will receive all the overdraft charges back.

Is the 5 days accurate or is it always 10 days? Does this all sound legit?

Thanks!

Guest's picture
Kenneth

Under Regulation E and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, banks must strictly comply with various provisions of the regulations and the EFTA. You should not be charged any overdraft fees if the charges that you charged after notifying the bank of the error would not have exceeded your available funds of your accounts.

You did not say how much money you've lost. But the bank should give you provisional of ALL the money that you claimed as error or unauthorized, not just some of it. You should consult a consumer law attorney if you think it is necessary. Some attorneys will take the case on a contingency basis if they believe you have a case.

Kenneth
Illinois Lawyer

Guest's picture
Guest

I was shocked when I learned I could get cash back from my credit card at Wal-mart. This is the only place I have found that does this.

But I DO go there rather than the bank to get cash because I get at least 1% cash back on the transaction, and the cashback amount is simply added onto the total charged to my card.

Awesome.

Guest's picture
Guest

When I shoped recently at my local Green Grocer in RI, I actually asked them which method they preferred as I know a bit of their profit is skimmed on debit/credit purchases.

I was told that on purchases of $50 or less, they prefer a credit card transaction as they pay a percentage of the total purchase for credit.

If the purchase is more than $50, they prefer a debit card transaction as retailers are charged a flat per-transaction charge for debits.

Guest's picture
Andrew

Good article. As debit card issuer we try to educate our cardholders on purchase security and using credit versus debit. We do not charge a fee - nor do we charge a fee for cash back - but we feel that the less you use your PIN the better.

It is a challenge because the the name of the transaction "debit" versus "credit" I wish we could some action (either grass roots or regulatory) that would eliminate this issue. Any lawyers out there? I am sure you could bring a case against retailers that force you to cancel and then start over... I am sure you will find plenty of confused cardholders willing to join you.

Why don't we call the transactions something they are like PIN and Signature instead of credit and debit... Or some other name... Maybe Wisebread can run a contest for the best name change... I will even throw in a 50 gift card to the winner.... anyone?

Guest's picture
Accurise

Though they are becoming increasingly popular, debit cards offer limited customer protection services, so it is typically smarter to use debit cards for smaller purchases. Conversely, credit cards should be used for larger purchases just because you have the time window to pay off the purchase. If paid on time, credit cards can yield more benefits in the long run, but these rewards only come with responsible spending. If you’re the type of person who consistently forgets to pay the bills on time, a debit card might be a more viable and responsible option.

Guest's picture
Guest

"I don't use Debit anymore, but not because of fees or convenience. Identity thieves have figured out ways to hack ATM machines, gas pumps, and yes even store checkout machines."

Not very often. Almost never actually . You seen, I'm disabled and live on ssi so they won't give me a credit card so I HAVE to use a debit card.

Guest's picture
Cara

Ok well I have always used the credit option simply because I like to keep money in my debit account for when I need the cash. But this debocle seems like you are just choosing between giving the store more percent of the transaction or your bank. If I had to choose one I would probably choose my bank aka the credit option, because they run my finances, not the store! I feel a little more cautious when it comes to my debit account because I have to give my pin number which could allow for some sort of theft or hacking. Better safe than sorry!

Guest's picture
Guest

Please READ people. If you read the documents that come from Visa and MC along with your new debit card, it clearly states NEVER to use your card as DEBIT in checkout stands. Your PIN gets recorded on a visible report on the Grocery, Gas Station (wherever) system. So if you want your info stolen. Use DEBIT

Guest's picture
Guest

I work at a Grocery Store.. No, it doesn't. We have no "report" of your pin number.

Guest's picture
Guest

My bank does not offer any specials or incentives for me using it as credit. I prefer using debit because it withdraws from my account immediately. When I use it as credit, the hold is there, but it does not show up right away, it takes a couple of days.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've been doing the following with Chase for over a decade. When I use my bank card as credit, it immediately shows up as pending in my account with the amount deducted from the balance. A couple of days later the "pending" comment is converted to "completed". There isn't any doubt what is my actual balance. When it's used as a debit, nothing shows up in my account until a couple of days later when everything is completed. My balance is unknown physically but known mentally. If I forget to keep mentally track of the actual balance, there's always the chance of accidentally overdrawing on the account and being dinged with penalty charges. This is why I use credit instead of debit; it's too easy to make a mistake. You should question the honesty, intent, laziness/ignorance (or agenda) of anyone contradicting this observation on whether the charge is pending or completed and what you're able to see.

Guest's picture
Wondering

I was charged the a fee for using my ATM card at a chinese resturant and I wouldn't have known if I didn't check the ATM reciept, can businesses charge a fee without asking first. I know at an ATM machine you have to approve the fee even if it is posted, but I don't know about retail businesses?

Guest's picture

I'll always choose my credit card over debit. The rewards are much better and as you mentioned, you can't beat the protection with a credit card.

Guest's picture
Ricky Milson

Well, as a student in Canada attending university we are given an unlimited debit transaction amount. But even with that I tend to loose track of my trans, so I'm still stuck with the question debit or credit? Debit is free for me so I take out cash while using the debit, but credit really worries me. Which one is really beneficial?

Or stick to the credit and build a good report?

Guest's picture
Max

While debit cards offer some rewards, credit card cash back is much better so I only credit cards. I also feel that using credit card is safer in case of identity theft.

Guest's picture
Guest

sounds like most of you are from europe. not many banks if any in the usa that i know of charge for atm fees at check out. you only get atm fees for going to an atm machine that is not a part of your network. debit and credit affect the store you are buying from but not the consumer. Most the time people use debit over credit so they dont have to wait 2-3 days for the gas charge at the station to come out. honestly at least in america you dont pay everytime you use debit so if posting that make sure you say what country you are in because you have people giving the wrong information or making otheres think omg i am going to get charged every month. at least here in the capatalistic society banks that charge like that wouldnt be in business.

Guest's picture
Justin

If you use a credit union like I do, you get paid back for all ATM fee's so even if a store pops up as "other ATM" I still get that fee back, so I use debit only when i want money back while i'm shopping. no reason not to

Guest's picture
Coffee

regarding the tampering of machines for ATM pins, it's required by law nowadays to have the processing company "inject" the encryption into the card reader, therefore only they know the encryption algorithm. furthermore, the hardware is made in a way that tampering with them physically will cause the encryption to be erased and the store won't be able to process debit card transactions on that machine until they ship it back to the processor to get re-encrypted. even if the store drops the card reader hard enough it will get erased.

Guest's picture
Guest

if you use a "hacked" card reader (ie one that has had a skimmer installed) it makes no difference ehat option you choose. This is because your card's data is read by the skimmer as well as the actual card reader. PIN numbers are hashed and stored on the card, and since they are only 4 characters long and contain only numbers, they are exceedingly easy to crack. Even if you choose credit, since your card also has debit tied to the same number, you are at risk.

The only solution is to use a seperate card for credit purchases.

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Guest

Wrong information buddy. DEBIT is by far the safer method for your transaction. Even if a hacker could manage to intercept the transmission the PIN number is encrypted and could never be hacked. A signature however is in plain readable text and is never encrypted. Much easier for a hacker to get an use. NEVER select the credit option when paying for merchandise. Better yet get an EMV chip card, banks don't want to issue them because of the cost, but they are by far the safest and best protection for you and your bank account.