You are at the checkout line at the grocery store and the cashier has completed scanning all of your items for purchase. The cashier noticed that you have pulled out card for payment, so he asks you if you want to use your card as a debit transaction or a credit transaction. Your debit card is usually used by entering a pin number, but in some cases you are able to use your debit card as a credit card transaction. But what is the difference in the two payment types? Continue reading for more information to answer the question of what happens if I swipe my debit card as credit.
When You Swipe as a Debit Card
When you make a purchase by using a debit card, you are required to enter in a personal identification number or a PIN in order for the transaction to be completed. The transaction is completed in real time, meaning that the money will be automatically and immediately taken from your bank account as soon as the transaction is approved and completed. This is also known as an online transaction because all processes are done at the time of the transaction.
Using your card as a debit card means that you should spend the amount that is already on the card. Spending over the amount could cause you to incur fees that can be very high depending on your financial institute and that is only if the bank allows for the transaction to be approved. Some cards, like prepaid cards do not allow for you to spend over the amount that is present on the card. Debit is just as secure as cash because it means that the money is readily available to the merchant to process your payment.
When You Swipe as a Credit Card
When you choose to swipe your debit card as credit, it is considered an offline transaction. Offline transactions mean that the funds are taken from the related account whenever the merchant completes the entire purchase with the credit card company that backs the used credit card or the debit card being used as credit. The transaction typically takes two to three business days to be completed and it takes that amount of time for the amount spent to show as completed on your financial statements.
When you swipe your debit card as credit, the transaction may require that you sign the pin pad or a credit receipt to authorize the charge on your account. You can also expect that when you swipe your debit card as credit to not see the amount immediately taken from your bank account. In some cases, the charge may appear as pending on your account or the charge will be deducted as if to be charged as a debit transaction. The length of time that it takes from the time that you swipe your debit card as credit to the charge appearing on your statement will depend on the processes that are carried out by the merchant. Some merchants send payments by credit cards every few hours or immediately after the transaction. Other merchants wait until the end of the day to batch all credit transactions.
To Swipe as Debit or Credit
So now the question remains, should you swipe your debit card as credit or continue to use it as a debit card? The choice is ultimately up to you. Keep in mind that some debit cards, like prepaid cards, may not allow for you to swipe your debit card as credit. In that case, an option may not be available. However, here are some things to consider when the cashier asks if you want to use your card as a debit card or a credit card.
- Using your debit card as a credit card can add security to your finances. You eliminate the need to use a PIN, and a signature, special account information like a zip code, and picture identification is usually required in order to complete a transaction used with a credit card.
- Using your debit card as a credit card could give you time to add the funds to your account that are not present at the time of the transaction. Depending on your bank, sometimes charges do not occur until the following or the next two business days.
- Using your debit card as a credit card is very beneficial for making online purchases on secured websites. These methods of payment do not need your signature to complete the transaction, but you may be required to give other information related to the card like your zip code or phone number associated with the account.
- There are certain situations where it may be very beneficial to Use a Credit Card instead of a debit card. Purchases like expensive items, items with warranties, or paying bills provide you with chances to use your debit card as a credit transaction.
Choosing to swipe your debit card as credit is a decision that is totally up to you and will not financially impact you in any way. It is more of a preferred method of making purchases for each individual. If you are unsure if your card can be used as a debit card, contact your bank for more information.