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Credit Versus Debit and Ways to Keep Your Debit Card Safe

| January 17, 2014


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Credit or Debit? Many people have their own preference for their own reasons, but Kim Watson of The County Federal Credit Union says there are a few differences.

“I think there’s some misconceptions with debit versus credit in general. I have a lot of people call and say, well I used it as a credit card, I don’t understand why it’s processed this way. Either way it’s going to come out of a checking account or a savings account. If you enter it as debit, you have to enter a pin number, which means it routes through the ATM network, versus credit and it directly processes through visa,” says Watson.

Credit tends to be more secure because with debit you have to enter your PIN number, and you never know who may be looking over your shoulder. With credit, you have to sign for your purchases which puts more liability on the merchant to check to make sure the signatures match. Debit and credit also have different processing times.

“Generally when you swipe it as debit, it may process immediately,but not necessarily. It depends on how the merchant processes,” says Watson.

When you run it as credit, it generally takes two or three days. The merchant has up to 30 days to pull the funds once they receive an authorization. Regardless, whether you swipe your card as debit or credit, it is important to keep your card safe.

“When you first receive your card, the first thing everybody should do is sign the back. So if you do drop it, somebody can’t pick it up, sign the back, go to the store and the merchant is going to verify the signature and of course in a case like that, it’s going to match,” says Watson.

Treat your card like cash and keep it in a safe place. Always review your account statements to make sure everything is correct. When you choose a pin number, avoid using obvious numbers like your birth date. Memorize your pin, never write it down, and never keep it with your card. If you do run your card as debit, make sure no one else can see your pin. Watson also says to shred any documents with account information. Stolen information can be avoided just by following these simple tips.

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