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Ask Dave

You're using it wrong

Amy is having trouble paying for school with her debit card, because the site says payments can be made by credit card or cash only. Dave walks her through the functionality of her debit card.

QUESTION: Amy attends a public university that is a long distance from her home via online classes. When she tried to pay for classes online it would not accept her debit card, saying that a credit card or cash were the only options. Dave tells her how to handle the situation without making the long drive to campus or going into debt.

ANSWER: You can run a debit card like it’s a credit card, and they will accept that. As a matter of fact, their machines don’t know the difference. When you type in a credit card number or debit card number it goes exactly the same. They don’t recognize the number difference.

Just select “credit.” It’s just like when you step up to pay for something at the store and they ask the credit or debit question. You say credit, so you don’t have to enter your PIN (personal identification number), and it all stays in the Visa system. Unless, of course, you’re on one of the new chip cards, and you may have to enter your PIN just to use your debit cards.

You’re using it wrong, and that’s why you’re having this trouble.