Skip the P-I-N

From Kelly Kendrick, First Bank & Trust Company:

If you’ve ever tried to make a purchase with your Check Card, you’ve probably been asked “Debit or credit?” Well, does it matter which you choose?  Regardless of how you process your transaction, the purchase amount is deducted from your checking account, no faster than if you had chosen the other option, right?

Yes, it does matter.  Here’s why:

Credit or debit? Skip the P-I-N and choose credit. Using your Check Card as a credit transaction, which requires your signature, is safer than using it as a debit transaction, which requires you to enter your Personal Identification Number (P-I-N).  Signature-based transactions (credit transactions) protect you from account hackers.  If you make your purchase as a debit transaction, a potential hacker has access to your account number AND your P-I-N. 

Additionally, processing a purchase with a check card as a credit gives you more protection when settling disputes.  For example, you receive protection and automatic reimbursement for fraudulent or erroneous transactions.  Debit transactions are “private network” transactions and disputes may take longer to resolve.

So, you’ve decided to skip the P-I-N and process your transaction as a credit.  Here’s how to do that:

At the time of purchase, swipe your card and select the credit option.  Sign for the transaction and the purchase will be deducted directly from your checking account.  If you don’t see the credit option, tell the cashier it’s a credit transaction and he or she will process the sale as a credit. 

The next time when you’re next asked, “Debit or credit?”, you’ll know why to answer, “Credit, please.”

Photo by Kelly Kendrick of Caroline Salisbury, Credit Analyst at First Bank & Trust Company, signing her credit card receipt.


First Bank & Trust Company, one of the top community banks in the United States, is a diversified financial services firm with office locations in southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee, and the New River and Shenandoah Valleys of Virginia. Financial objectives are addressed by offering free checking products for personal and business accounts, and assessing lending solutions managed by mortgage, agricultural and commercial lending divisions. Comprehensive financial solutions are available through trust and brokerage service representatives.  For businesses, First Bank & Trust specializes in business loans, business credit, and business finance.

You’re invited to read more from Kelly Kendrick and First Bank & Trust Company on Handshake 2.0.

Kelly Kendrick, Assistant Vice President, First Bank & Trust Company, is a client columnist for Handshake 2.0. First Bank & Trust Company is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

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  1. Christina M. Dudley says:

    I’ve always personally used the credit option. Mostly it had to do with the fact that I had a hard time remembering my PIN, but now I see that there’s an added bonus to it anyway. 🙂

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