Why "is this a debit card?" at fuel pump?

You use a credit union, perhaps? All the “Big Five” Canadian Banks are pretty much in lock-step on stuff like this:


Yes, you can get the cash price in some situations. Some may also not accept credit cards at all, the one across the street only takes debit and charges a flat $0.35, though it’s usually quite a bit cheaper than anywhere else. If you say it’s not a debit, then the transaction is immediately declined.

My CIBC link above for some reason was to CIBC Caribbean. :smiley: This is the domestic one:

Nope, I use one of the Big 5.

us credit cards used to only use pin numbers for cash advances …

It’s not that all retailers want to know- only some do. Plenty don’t ask - I don’t recall whether they can tell it’s a debit and ask for my PIN or if they automatically run it through the credit-card processing system or whether my purchase was small enough to require neither a PIN nor a signature . Probably different for each store.

When I worked in a bank I saw exactly one ATM card without a logo. It was an older man who had a legacy card that they allowed because he was of the “doesn’t trust debit cards” mentality.

One gas station near me has a sign on the pump requesting customers to select credit instead of debit. I always thought that was odd, as a debit transaction is instant, but a credit sale takes longer for the money to end up in the merchant’s hands. I guess the processing fee difference explains the preference.

Getting back to the heart of my question, why does a card like mine that is only a credit card, not a dual debit/credit card, not have that info embedded along with the rest of the credit card info?
I get that there are dual cards and credit vs. debit is processed differently.
But wouldn’t it be trivial to include “this is a credit card, not a debit card” in the card data?

I’m not sure what you mean by “only” a debit card. When people are talking about cards that can be processed either way, they are talking about debit cards with a MC /visa logo, that can be processed through a the EFT system that usually requires a PIN or through the MC /Visa network . But either way, the money comes out of your account almost instantly - it’s not a dual “debit/credit card.

I’m not sure if anyone has explicitly mentioned this , but there are plenty of places that aren’t set -up to do PIN based transactions. At those places , I won’t be able to use a nonMC/Visa debit card at all. It all depends on where you shop - it seems to me that supermarkets, drugstores, discount stores and warehouse stores almost always have the ability to use the PIN system. Most other places (restaurants, clothing stores, furniture stores, appliance stores ) do not have that ability and run every MC/Visa card through that processing system

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I didn’t say only a debit card. I said only a credit card. Only the kind that keeps an account of what I charged and sends me a bill at the end of the month. No connection to to my bank account.

Again, I’m not asking about cards that are both debit cards with a MC or VISA logo. I understand why the machine would ask how you want to use a dual debit/credit card.

This irritates me so much, and is a symptom of how backward and antiquated the US finance system is.

Saying “this is not a Debit card”, is actually saying “I don’t have a PIN number for this card”. It might as well say “I may have stolen this Debit card”. At least at the gas pump they will ask for a ZIP nowadays which while super insecure is better than asking for a signature (as in “I can make a shape with a pen”)

Everywhere else in the world credit cards also require a chip+PIN number at POS. The US is stuck in the dark ages.

How is asking for a ZIP any more secure than asking for a signature? The signature system required you to make a shape that was somewhat like the shape already on the card - actually harder than it looks to do fluently. ZIP just says “I know a 5-digit number that’s a valid ZIP for somewhere” and is totally uncheckable.

In Australia, BTW, we’ve kind of started moving on from “chip and PIN”. Now it’s “PIN or paywave” - anything under $100 you can just wave it at the credit card machine and it automatically processes it. Debit (which we call EFTPOS - electronic funds transfer at point of sale) is the only sort of transaction that HAS to have a PIN.

I believe that credit cards in general actually don’t have any info on them about whether they can be used for debit. My reason for believing this is that when we linked one of our credit cards to our account, this was all handled by the bank AFTER the card was issued - AFAICR no physical change to the card was needed. Therefore, the information about which cards are valid debit cards would have to be stored somewhere else

Only if it was compared, which it rarely was, which is why the credit card companies are relaxing the requirement that they be obtained.

Not for somewhere, for the accountholder’s address.

In the US that is absolutely not the case. It it almost always a paper recept to sign with zero checking done. In fact if you are paying in a restaurant you’ll get your card back before the receipt is signed. Even if the signature is electronic there no validation at all.

So compared to that asking for your zip, while completely inadequate as a security measures, is better than basically nothing.

Oh, I see.

Yeah, we don’t do it that way here. Back in the signature days people pretty much always asked to look at the signature - and you couldn’t possibly use our postcodes for validation, you can have tens of thousands of people per code

The 5-digit zip that is used for ID can have 1000s people in it too. So its still a very rudimentary method (guessing the current ZIP, then a couple of either side will work a lot of the time)

And even that super rudimentary security measure is a fairly recent addition (much more recent than the complete adoption of chip+PIN in Europe)

Ours are about the same size. It’s just meant to be better than nothing, which it is, barely.

Signatures were so rarely looked at that people got a really weird idea to put “SEE ID” rather than their signature on the card, because they wanted to promote the idea that merchants should require photo ID for the use of a card. This was against the rules (both retailers requiring the ID and people defacing their cards with the request that it be done), did absolutely nothing whatsoever for the individual cardholder’s security, and exposed additional personal information.

The amount of times a merchant has looked at my signature on my card probably is maybe nice or twice a year since I got my first credit card 25 years ago (and. Use mine almost daily.) I often use my wife’s card for groceries, and only her name and signature is on it, and I’ve never once been asked—the vast majority of the time, the merchant doesn’t even touch the card. Once I forgot to sign my card, and the merchant wouldn’t accept it, so I signed it in front f him, and then he accepted it. I was like, wtf was the point of that?

Yeah so can we, but the idea is that depending on exactly how someone got a card with my number on it , they are unlikely not know my zip code. Sure, if someone steals my whole wallet, my home address will probably be in there somewhere and that might be my billing address. . But if they just have my card, it’s going to be hard to guess my billing zip code - I could have been separated from my card in the big city I commute to for work and my billing address could be anywhere within a 100 mile radius - and who knows how many zip codes that might be. I have a 15 minute, five mile drive to work - and I pass through four zip codes.