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How does a debit card work?

Debit card purchases come directly out of your checking account.  Transactions are classified in two different ways.  A Point-of–Sale (or POS) transaction is when the PIN number is entered at the merchant for approval.  The other way to approve a debit transaction is by signing your name for on the receipt or the merchant’s device at the end of the transaction.  This is often referred to as ‘credit’ by the merchant even though the funds are still coming directly out of your checking account. 


Debit cards can also be used as an ATM card to obtain cash from any ATM machine.  ATMs give you the option of taking cash from your savings or checking account up to the daily limit allowed on your card.  Many merchants allow you to get cash back over the amount of your original transaction if you elect to enter your PIN number.   This option of cash back is drawn off of your credit union checking account, and the purchase total will reflect as one amount.  There is no indication in your account statement that a specific amount of cash was added to the merchandise total. 

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FAQs on common Debit Card concerns

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