Use Debit Card as Credit Card: What Happens & Why You Should Do It

We’ve all been at the checkout and asked the question: “Debit or credit?” Most of the time, you don’t think twice about it and just enter your PIN for debit or make the signature for credit. But did you know there are a bunch of key benefits for running your debit card as credit when you make a purchase?

If you have a checking account with a Visa debit card at Arsenal Credit Union, there are even more perks to running it as credit.

Here’s why you should always choose debit as credit at the point-of-sale

Choosing debit as credit gives you more security on purchases

Woman shopping in a high-end boutique

Most reputable card processors won’t hold you liable for unauthorized credit transactions. If you enter your PIN and fraud occurs, you’ll have to work out a solution with Arsenal (or other financial institution) and wait before you get your money back.

Many card processors have zero-liability policies in place when you run your debit card as credit and treat your debit card just like a regular credit card when you make a credit transaction. If an unauthorized charge is made, it will refund all of your money back.

No signature required on smaller purchases

At most retailers, when you make a purchase under $25, you don’t even have to sign, getting you out the door quicker.

It’s all about the networks

If running your debit as credit seems confusing, well… it is a bit at first. Choosing the “credit” option doesn’t transform your debit card into a credit card at all.

The Visa logo at the bottom of an Arsenal debit card means that retailers that accept Visa also accept your card. When you make a transaction on your debit card and run it as credit, it processes through the Visa network. The same goes for cards that have MasterCard®, American Express® and Discover® logos.

Flip your card over to see a couple of additional logos at the bottom. The PLUS, STAR and other logos logos represent the debit networks that your transaction is processed through when you enter your PIN. When you choose this option, your transaction may process faster, but you miss out on all of the benefits listed above.

You will never be charged interest for using your debit card

Discussing music in a record store

When you run your transaction as credit using your debit card, you are still authorizing a debit from your checking account. You will never be charged interest or receive a bill for doing this. Of course, choosing credit at the point-of-sale will not help you build your credit.

What if I can’t choose “credit” at the point-of-sale?

Retailers often have to pay higher fees when you run your debit card as credit. Because of this, some make it hard for you to choose the credit option. Here are a couple of tips that will help you choose “credit” every time.

  • After you insert your card and the terminal asks for your PIN, just hit the “Enter” button (usually green). This will run your card as credit.
  • If you’re asked to choose between “U.S. Debit” and “Visa Debit,” choose “Visa Debit.” This will run your card through Visa’s credit network.
  • If you still can’t figure out how to run your debit card as credit, ask the cashier. Some stores make it very difficult and the cashier will have to run it this way manually.

Need a checking account with a debit card? We have three convenient options.

Learn More About Our Checking Accounts

Totally Free Checking

Most banks and credit unions are dropping this essential service. At Arsenal, there is no minimum balance requirement. Ever. Keep as much or as little in your account and never pay a monthly fee.

Value Checking

This checking account lets you earn interest. If you maintain an average daily balance of $500, there’s no fee! If you don’t, the fee is an affordable $4 a month.

Advantage Plus Checking

This checking account is stacked! Earn interest. Get free checks. Keep no minimum balance. It’s also only $4 a month.

Arsenal checking accounts are easy to open online. If you decide to visit a branch to open, we’ll give you an instant-issue debit card on the spot. Use your debit card at more than 250 local and nearly 30,000 free ATMs nationwide.

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