Pinless debit purchases

Have you noticed something new when you use your debit card?

Maybe you’ve made a small purchase at a fast food restaurant, purchased a soft drink at a convenience store or fuel at a gas station. You swipe your debit card, and the transaction is complete.

Payment without a PIN

But wait, what about the PIN? A growing number of merchants are opting to use a technology called “pinless debit.” With pinless debit, cards can be processed to make a payment without a PIN.

Purchases under $50, recurring payments

Pinless debits are restricted to purchases under $50 and recurring payments where the merchant has an ongoing relationship with the consumer, such as utility bills. That’s why you may be seeing this more often at convenience stores and fast food restaurants. Big box retailers like Target and Walmart have also begun to process pinless debits for small purchases.

Choice made by merchants

You can neither choose nor opt out of pinless debit. The choice is made for you by the merchant. Pinless debit saves merchants an average of 9 cents per transaction in fees, and it can speed up the check-out line – at least in theory – by eliminating the few seconds it takes for you to enter your PIN. In that sense it is similar to swiping your credit card and not being asked to sign the receipt.

For you: same convenience, security

The bottom line to Oregon State Credit Union members is this: pinless debit transactions are becoming more common, and you will almost certainly encounter this situation. The decision to use or not use pinless debit is made by the merchant and need not impact your shopping experience. Purchases made using an Oregon State Credit Union debit card will continue to enjoy the same level of convenience and security, regardless of whether the transactions are pinned or pinless.

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