Credit vs. Debit: What’s the diff?

Confused guy in plaid shirt

You swipe your debit card and it appears: Credit or debit. Which one should you pick? With three people stacked up behind you in line, impatiently waiting, you can feel your heart beat a little bit faster. You choose an option and, instantly, the pressure is gone.

But did you make the right choice?

This scenario is all too familiar. Before I worked at Linn Area Credit Union, I honestly thought pressing the credit button over the debit button was exactly the same, with the exception of having to put in my PIN for the latter choice.

I’m here to help explain why choosing “credit” is good for YOU and for us!

First, a little background. Every time you swipe your debit card, there is a small fee that is generated called the Interchange Fee. When you press “credit,” this fee goes back to people who issue the card; when you press “debit,” that fee goes to the retailer.

What this means to you is every single time you use your Linn Area Credit Union debit card and press “credit” to sign that receipt, we receive the fee (yay!). In turn, we’re able to return it back to YOU through lower rates and fees (yippee skippy!). Pretty cool, right?

So what happens if you press “debit”? Well, the retailer that you are shopping at gets the Interchange Fee. Is that a benefit to you? Nope.

So, remember – press “credit,” SWIPE your card, and then SIGN your John Hancock.

Another misconception I had was that “credit” suggested I was using a credit card. Nope, not at all. Your credit card, if you have one, is not linked to the money in your checking account.

So next time you’re out at the store and you are faced with “credit” or “debit” debacle, be sure to SWIPE

and SIGN. (Another trick to remember: Give your CREDIT Union some CREDIT.)

Sound off in the comments: With the ease of purchasing with debit cards, do you ever write checks when you’re out and about?