Making frequent trips to banks and ATMs can be costly and time-consuming. Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions issue debit cards to make it easier for customers to make cash payments.
Unlike credit cards, which are chip-and-signature preferred, debit cards in the United States are chip-and-PIN preferred. When you use your debit card to make a payment, you must enter your PIN.
To prevent fraud, bankers and cybersecurity experts maintain that debit card PINs should be changed every three to six months. The best way to use a stolen credit card is to find someone who doesn’t change their PIN. Although it’s a grand security gesture, it creates a loophole for forgetting!
With so many numbers competing for your attention, it's easy to forget your debit card PIN. Consider social security numbers, ZIP codes, addresses, passwords, smartphone patterns, home security system PINs, and other sensitive information.
It's especially likely if you carry multiple debit cards from different banks and change your PIN frequently. It is possible to wake up one day and run out of brain memory capacity.
What happens if you lose your PIN? You can't figure it out when you wake up in the morning! Is it possible to use a debit card without a PIN?
A debit card can be used without a PIN number! When shopping in-store with a debit card, you can avoid entering your PIN by using your debit card as a credit card. Smaller purchases under $25 may also be exempt from the need for a pin. Surprisingly, you will not need the PIN when shopping online.
Unfortunately, you can't use a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM or get cashback at a store without a PIN.
Read Also: Can You Track A Credit Card Or Debit Card With A Chip? EMV Chip Cards
Table of Contents
Run Debit as Credit
The first option is to use a debit card that has a Chip-and-Signature feature, also known as Chip-and-Signature or swipe-and-sign. You must run a debit transaction as a credit transaction to accomplish this. That means using your debit card as if it were a credit card!
But how does debt running as credit work?
A card may be Chip-and-Signature, Chip-and-PIN, or both. These are simply card verification modes used to ensure that the card is used by the account holder and not a fraudster.
When a card is Chip-and-signature preferred, it requires a signature for verification instead of a PIN. On the other hand, a Chip-and-PIN card requires a PIN instead of a signature. Unlike most countries in the world, credit cards in the US require a signature, while a debit card requires a PIN.
That means if you run debit as credit, your debit card will switch from Chip-and-PIN to Chip-and-signature and skip the PIN verification requirement. Instead, you will be required to sign a receipt to authorize the transaction, just like in a typical credit card transaction.
Now the big question is: How do you run a debit card as credit? That leads us to the next point below.
Read Also: How To Get Cashback From Debit Card Without PIN
How to Run a Debit Card as Credit?
It is fairly simple to process a debit card as a credit card. When you use a debit card to make a purchase in a store, the clerk or the payment terminal will ask you whether you want to run the card as debit or credit.
If you select the debit option, you will be asked to enter your PIN, just like when withdrawing cash from an ATM. To complete the transaction, funds will be immediately deducted from your bank account to pay the merchant.
But in our case, you don’t remember the PIN. So, don’t go this route.
Instead, choose the credit option. The card will skip the PIN verification and switch to signature verification, where you will only need to sign a receipt to complete your purchase. Your transaction will then be run through a credit card network, just like a typical credit transaction.
Money is still drawn from your account to clear the transaction. But unlike the first case where money is withdrawn immediately from your account, it usually takes longer, 1 to 3days, for the transaction to process when the debit card is processed as credit.
That means you get some level of protection against fraudulent charges if you run your debit card as credit and sign your purchase. You can dispute fraudulent purchases with your bank if you notice red flags before the transaction clears.
Running a debit card as credit has some downside to the merchant. The merchant is charged higher fees.
What is the Difference Between a Credit and Debit Transaction?
A debit card is linked to your account and draws money directly from your bank account when you make a payment with it. You are simply using the money in your bank account to complete the purchase, just as you would with cash or check.
With a credit card, you are simply borrowing money to make payments. Your card issuer loans you the money to complete the purchase. You must pay back in full at a later date or risk accumulating high-interest rates on your balance.
Credit transactions have some superior benefits to debit transactions. If you pay your monthly balance in full every month, it helps you build your credit history and boost your credit score. But if you go on a spending spree with your credit card and fail to keep your issuers terms, you risk sinking into debt and hurting your credit score.
[Video Guide] Credit Card vs. Debit Card Explained In Under 2 Minutes
Debit card transactions, on the other hand, are not reported to the credit bureaus. It can’t help you build your credit history or improve your FICO score, even if you run a debit card as credit.
How to Check Debit Card Balance Without a PIN?
Checking your debit card balance on a regular basis is critical for detecting any fraudulent activity on your account. You may want to know your balance after processing your debit card as credit.
Without a PIN, how can you check your debit card balance? You have several options, which include:
- Check your balance online: Online banking is already here! Through your bank’s website, you can check your debit card balance without a PIN at any time. All you need to do is log in using your online credentials to access your account information. You can also pay bills, transfer money, and more.
- Use a Mobile App: Using your bank’s mobile app lets you check your account balance online using your smartphone or tablet. You can even deposit checks via your bank’s mobile app!
- Set up alerts: Login in to check your debit card balance manually after every purchase can be tiring. Setting automatic text or email alerts is the best way to know your account balance anytime something happens to your account. For example, you can sign up to receive alerts anytime there is a sizable withdrawal or when your card is used to buy stuff. It adds an automatic safeguard to your debit card when it comes to detecting fraudulent activities.
- Talk to a teller: A good analog option is to visit your local branch and ask a teller to print off your bank statement. It’s time-consuming, and you may be charged a fee at some banks. You are better off with our self-service banking options above.
How to Get Cashback from Debit Card Without PIN?
Unfortunately, trying to withdraw money from a debit card without a PIN is a different story. It's not the same as making a purchase! The rule of the game is that you cannot withdraw money from your debit card unless you have the PIN.
When you visit an ATM at your bank, you will be asked to enter your PIN for verification. There is no getting around it. Without a PIN, banks will not allow you to withdraw money from an ATM.
What about getting cash back at a store?
Retailers will allow you to process your debit card as a credit card to pay for your purchase, but they won’t let you add some cashback to a transaction without the PIN. They play by the same rules.
How to Use a Debit Card Online Without a PIN?
Making purchases online or through the bank's mobile app is another way to use a debit card without a PIN number. Instead of a debit or credit card, online payment gateways display a general card option.
You will only need to enter your debit card number, expiration date, and CVV to complete the transaction. On the back of the card, the CVV is usually a three or four-digit number. Only American Express cards have a four-digit CVV code. The number is located on the card's front right side.
Read Also: How To Bypass CVV Code
Such convenience comes at a high risk of fraud. If your card is stolen or a fraudster on the dark web manages to steal your credit card details, they can make purchases with it.
A more secure option will be to consider linking your credit card to an online payment platform like PayPal. Then you can make credit card purchases through your PayPal account.
Alternatively, make purchases via your bank’s mobile app. Once you login in, you can access your account details and make purchases directly from your debit card account without the PIN.
Read Also: How To Transfer Money With Only Card Number And CVV
How to Use a Debit Card at a Restaurant?
Using your debit card at a restaurant is similar to using it at a retail store. The point-of-sale machines work pretty much the same. You can choose to swipe-and-pin or swipe-and-sign.
If you choose to swipe-and-pin, your payment will be processed as a debit transaction. The money will be drawn from your account faster to settle the bill, usually by the end of the day. This option is beneficial to the merchant because they pay less in transaction fees when you PIN your purchases. The average restaurant profit margin is about 3-5% but can range from 0-15%; every percentage point helps! Some places only let the restaurant servers accept cash or debit to elevate margins and profitability.
Simply swipe and sign to use your debit card as a credit card at the restaurant. When prompted to enter a PIN, simply press the green "Enter" button. The machine will process your card as credit by default. To approve the payment, you will be required to sign a receipt rather than enter a PIN.
The merchant pays more fees when you sign a debit purchase, so this option is more expensive for them. However, if you have forgotten your debit card PIN, you will be forced to swipe and sign.
How to Use a Debit Card at a Gas Pump Without a PIN?
What if you need to fill up your car at a gas station but can't remember your PIN? Can you use your debit card at a gas station without entering a PIN? Absolutely! Simply insert the card into the card reader. You'll be asked to enter your PIN.
To avoid PIN verification, simply press the "Green" button and the machine will process your debit card as credit. And you're ready to go! To approve the payment, sign the receipt.
Read Also: How To Bypass Credit Card Age Verification
What Should You Do If You Lose Your Debit Card PIN?
It can be unsettling if you haven't used your debit card in a while and realize you've forgotten your PIN. You can make payments without your PIN using other methods, but you'll need to reset the number eventually.
Here's what you can do if you ever forget your debit card PIN:
1. Try to View Your PIN Number Securely Online
If you have your bank’s app installed on your smartphone, you still might have a chance to view your PIN securely online.
The process varies from bank to bank, but you can try looking for an option that says “view your PIN” under account services or debit card services.
This process only works if you’re the primary account holder. If you’re just an added beneficiary, ask the primary account holder to retrieve the PIN for you.
2. Request A PIN Reminder
A lot of banks offer to mail a PIN reminder to the address listed on your account. You’ll need to place a request through their app or website; make sure that you remember your debit card number.
You can call up the customer service department and ask for a reminder. You may be required to visit a branch in-person with the required bank documents and ID for verification.
3. Reset PIN
Sometimes the only option you have is to reset your PIN number. You can try any of the methods listed below to get a new PIN for your debit card.
Read Also: How To Get/Create A Free US Credit Card For Non-Residents
To reset your PIN at an ATM:
In order to reset your debit card PIN at an ATM, you must first enter the original PIN. If you don't remember, here's what you should do:
- Insert your card and click on the “Forgot PIN” option
- Enter your bank account number on the next page
- A temporary PIN will be sent to your registered mobile number
- Use that PIN to log in and change your debit card PIN for good
The process and options on the screen may differ slightly from bank to bank, but this is typically the case.
Your debit card PIN will be required in more than one location. Here's how to use net banking to reset your pin:
- Login into your bank’s website
- Under the cards section, select the debit card that you want a new PIN for
- Request an instant PIN generation
- Enter your card details
- Enter the OTP sent to your registered mobile number
- Enter your new PIN, confirm and proceed
You can use the same process to reset your PIN through your bank’s mobile app as well.
Read Also: How To Bypass OTP Verification On Any Website/App
Reset PIN At Bank Branch:
If none of the above options work for you, call your bank’s customer care service number or visit a local branch. Fill out the form to request a new PIN.
The bank will then send you a link to reset your PIN or a temporary PIN to your registered contact details.
Can I Use a Debit Card as a Credit Card with Insufficient Funds?
Will a debit card be declined for insufficient funds? Absolutely yes! Unless you have overdraft protection from your bank or an overdraft line of credit.
Anytime you make payment from your debit account, also known as a checking account, you should have enough money in it to cover the transaction. It is regardless of whether you make an electronic transfer, use a debit card, or write a check to cash.
When you run your debit card as credit, money will still be drawn from your bank account to cover the payment. It is just a debit transaction being run through a credit card processing network. The only advantage you get for running a debit transaction via a credit card processing network is the ability to skip the PIN requirement.
All other debit transaction rules apply. So if you try to use a debit card as a credit card with insufficient funds, your bank can reject the payment. The transaction will bounce, just like a check.
There are ramifications to this. Fees can quickly mount. Your bank will charge you fees ranging from $27 to $35 per transaction if you overdraw your account! If the merchant is also charged by the bank, the charges will most likely be passed on to you. The average overdraft fee in 2020 will be around $33.50, up from $21.50 two decades ago.
Overdrawing your account will also result in some reputation damage. If you overdraw your account too frequently, your name may end up in a database of customers with a history of bouncing checks.
Is there an alternative? Yes!
Consider obtaining overdraft protection to avoid the disastrous consequences of bounced transactions. In this case, your bank will cover the cost of the purchase as if you had sufficient funds. The bank will charge you an overdraft fee and possibly interest on the amount "borrowed" in the meantime each time it covers your shortfall.
Consider obtaining an overdraft line of credit, which is less expensive than paying high per-transaction overdraft fees. It's a loan that has been pre-approved and is linked to your checking account. Overdraft protection can help you avoid missed payments, bounced checks, and having your debit card declined.
Can I Use Someone Else’s Debit Card With Their Permission?
You may use another person's debit card with their permission. Permission entails the owners providing you with their PIN. Most of the time, these will be family members or close friends. You can withdraw money from an ATM, go shopping, and get cash back with their card as long as you have their permission.
But, unfortunately, you can also use someone else’s debit card without their permission. In this case, you probably won’t know the PIN, and you won’t be able to withdraw any money or get cash back at a store. But, someone can go rogue and still go on a shopping spree without the PIN.
It is criminal, however, to use someone else’s debit card to make unauthorized transactions. If you get caught, you will be charged in a court of law. It is called PINless debit card fraud, which we will talk about later in this article.
How to Transfer Money from Credit Card to Debit Card?
There are several ways to transfer money from a credit card to a debit card. The method you use depends on whether your bank or credit union allows you to make a direct-to-bank transfer; fees will also be a factor.
Here are some ways to transfer money from your credit card to a debit card:
- Net banking: Log into your credit card’s online banking account. Then select the transfer option and the amount you want to transfer.
- Call the bank: Call your bank or credit union to request a direct to-bank transfer.
- e-Wallets: If your credit card account is linked to an e-wallet, you can make an indirect transfer from your credit card to your debit card account. First, load the money into your e-wallet. Then transfer it to your bank account. Paytm is a good example of these.
What if your bank or credit union prohibits you from transferring funds from your credit card to your bank account?
To get around the restrictions, use these well-known hacks:
Check to self: Write a check to yourself by including the name of the payee as “Self,” then deposit the check at your bank. The money will be transferred from your credit card to your debit card account. Check collection and deposit charges will apply.
ATM Cash Advance: Use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM and then deposit it to your debit card account. Cash advance fees apply and are generally high.
How to Protect Yourself from PINless Debit Card Fraud?
PINless debit card fraud threatens the convenience of using your debit card without a PIN. If your card is stolen or someone copies your credit card information, no PIN debit card fraud can occur.
Although a thief cannot withdraw cash or receive cashback from a store without the PIN, they can still use it to go on a shopping spree. It is risky because they can charge your card by making unauthorized purchases both online and in-store.
Keep in mind that a debit card is directly linked to your checking account and uses funds from your bank to pay for purchases. That means your account will be drained in no time. As a result, PINless debit card fraud can be dangerous.
How can fraud be detected and avoided? Here are five ways to safeguard yourself against no-pin debit card fraud:
- Track your balance daily: Sign up for online banking or get your bank’s mobile app. You can then check your balance any time and see all the recent transactions. It makes it easier to detect any fraudulent activities on your account. Call your bank right away if you notice any red flags.
- Set message and email alerts: Sign up for banking alerts so that your bank can send you an email or text notification anytime a purchase or withdrawal hits a specific limit in your account.
- Link your card to a payment platform: Instead of giving your credit card details to every merchant online, link your card to a payment platform like PayPal; it adds an extra layer of security. The only thing the merchant will see is your PayPal email.
- Use a credit card instead: Credit cards do not draw money directly from your bank account. A benefit of credit card issuers is that they offer better protection against fraud. You can initiate a chargeback for any fraudulent transactions before you pay off the monthly loan. The issuer will act quickly to settle the dispute because they want you to pay their due money.
- Have separate accounts: You are out of money within no time if your checking count is compromised. To avoid this, have a separate account with most of your money. Transfer money into your debit card account just before you need it. If someone steals your card for fraudulent spending, you will still have some cash to meet your financial obligations as your bank or credit union pursues the matter.
- Steer clear of scam websites: Avoid phishing websites run by con artists that resemble your bank’s official sites. They aim to steal your debit card data and try to access your account to steal your money. Visit your financial websites direct by typing in the web address and not through an email or text sent to you.
- Avoid financial transactions on public networks: When doing online or mobile banking, make sure you are using a secured network. Avoid transacting on unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi. I’d suggest using a VPN to hide your financial information and location. A VPN creates anonymity, just like when watching Netflix in another country.
Conclusion How to Use a Debit Card Without a PIN
Don't be alarmed if you forget your debit card pin. A debit card can still be used without a pin number. By processing your debit as credit, you can route your transaction through a credit card network and perform a swipe-and-sign transaction, just like a regular credit transaction. You can also shop online or through your mobile app, which eliminates the need for the PIN.
Such convenience does not come cheap. You could be the victim of PINless debit card fraud.
When using your debit card as a credit card, you must exercise extreme caution. To avoid this, keep a daily record of your account balance. Sign up for automatic alerts from your bank as well, so that you are notified as soon as any fraudulent activity occurs.
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