Debit or Credit at the Checkout Line?


When you checkout at a grocery or retail store and pay with your check card, the cashier will usually ask if you would like to run the transaction as "debit" or "credit". Which option should you choose? While both will help you complete your purchase, there are a few differences you should consider the next time you swipe at the checkout line.

Here's a basic explanation of debit vs. credit transactions:

Debit transactions require you to enter your PIN and funds from your checking account will be withdrawn immediately. One of the nicer advantages to selecting debit is the option to receive cash back. PFCU members are allowed 10 PIN-based transactions per month at any non-PFCU terminal before being charged a $1.00 fee.

Credit transactions generally require you to sign a receipt and the funds are immediately deducted from your available balance. PFCU members are allowed unlimited credit transactions, so this might be the best choice if you use your check card more than ten times per month. As a reminder, credit transactions don't offer the same cash back option as debit transactions.

Sounds simple enough – so which option is the best? Choosing to run your card as credit or debit depends on your preference. It's important to take your monthly spending habits into consideration and choose the option that's right for you. A PFCU member recently wrote to us asking how he could avoid fees for non-PFCU terminals. It turns out that his spending habits exceeded more than ten transactions per month. If you are in a similar situation, here are two options that will help you avoid the fee:

  1. Choose credit when asked at checkout. Use your card like normal when making a purchase, only ask the cashier to run as "credit" rather than debit. Credit transactions are unlimited, and you can save your 10 free monthly debit transactions for when you want to withdraw cash from an ATM.

  2. Sign up for Kasasa Cash Back. PFCU members can convert their current Checking Account to Kasasa Cash Back Checking, which rewards members for using their PFCU Check Card. If eligible, you'll actually be refunded up to $8 for 12 purchases made per month with your PFCU Check Card. To learn more about Kasasa Cash Back Checking, click here.

If you have any other questions regarding credit vs. debit transactions, or would like more details about Kasasa Cash Back, please give us a call at 215-934-3500!