Starting a New Conspiracy Theory

The credit card companies conspired to create this whole PIN number debacle to get you to avoid using your PIN. The reason? They get the 2-4% fee when you use your debit card as a credit card. They get nothing if you use it as an ATM card! This is also the reason that the various POS systems attempt to get you to use your PIN when you don't actually need to use it with a debit card. Then you get stuck with the POS fee from your bank and they don't have to pay the credit card company.

Actually, I don't really believe there's any conspiracy, but it sure as heck gives Visa et al a strong incentive to publicize the problem and use it as an excuse to get you to avoid using your PIN number (never mind that this is more advantageous for you anyway if your bank charges POS fees).

Here's a better suggestion for you: pure credit cards are safer than debit cards. Credit cards can't make you bounce checks. Debit cards can bounce your checks even due to "temporary authorizations." The only reason I can think of for using a debit card is if you can't be trusted to pay off the balance on your credit card every month.

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Yes, yes, sounds probable.

Yes, yes, sounds probable. And the Jews are behind it.

Sean, ...The only reason I


...The only reason I can think of for using a debit card is if you can’t be trusted to pay off the balance on your credit card every month.

1. Debit card transactions can be verified on-line by the time you return home. Credit card transactions can often take days.

2. Why would you want to clutter your credit card statement with sub-$20 supermarket purchases?

Regards, Don

I use the debit card when I

I use the debit card when I want cash back, and use my credit card when I just want the mileage points.

My Credit Card gives me as

My Credit Card gives me as much as 5% cash back on some purchases.

My Credit Card company has simply passed on the incentive to me in order to get me to use it instead of my debit card.

As such, if the credit-card company claims 5% of my purchase, why don't stores charge a sur-charge for credit usage? 5% is a lot it seems to me.

I use debit cards

I use debit cards exclusively because I simply dislike checks, I don't care to deal with the hassle they have always incurred.

I have stopped using my Visa

I have stopped using my Visa credit card entirely because the whole thing was a huge rip-off whenever I accidentally paid the bill a few days late.

With the Visa "check card" I save a lot of money on late payment fees. This more than makes up any lost interest.

Don: 1. Get a better credit


1. Get a better credit card issuer.
2. Replace "credit card statement" with "bank statement" and you have my question back to you.

Half Sigma: That would be the reason I gave for using a debit card :) I strongly recommend getting a bill paying service. It's how ADHD people like myself are able to avoid late fees.

LoneSnark: Actually for merchants with low chargebacks it's closer to 2%. Remember when gas stations used to charge more? I think it's just customer demand that keeps them from charging a surcharge. Some people who only use credit cards won't shop at a place with a surcharge even if the price to them is the same. On the other hand, people who pay cash generally don't avoid places that don't charge credit card users a surcharge even though they are subsidizing the credit card users. In fact, this is a good example of how taxes work: credit card users are the minority who screw the rest of us by not donating to a cause unless everyone is forced to, even those who don't benefit.

If someone uses your credit card fraudulently, you can just not pay the disputed portion of your bill. If the same thing happens with a debit card, they already have your money and you have to fight to get it back. Gives the bank and credit card company a lot less incentive to investigate and help you!

Sean, 1. Get a better credit


1. Get a better credit card issuer.

The primary delay is the vendor, not the bank.

2. Replace “credit card statement” with “bank statement” and you have my question back to you.

I never read the bank statement since all the transactions have been already verified in near-real time.

The credit card statement, either on-line or paper, OTOH, has both large transactions and monthly ones, and is reviewed often.

Regards, Don

"As such, if the credit-card

"As such, if the credit-card company claims 5% of my purchase, why don’t stores charge a sur-charge for credit usage? 5% is a lot it seems to me."

Card issuers discourage this in their contracts with merchants. I believe, for example, that the standard Visa and Mastercard agreements prohibit merchants from adding any credit card surcharge above the advertised price. (Depending on the agreement, the merchant might be able to work around this by offering a "cash discount" below the list price instead.) And apparently the US Federal Truth-in-Lending Act used to prohibit credit card surcharges entirely.

I have two credit cards.

I have two credit cards. For one, it takes about 2 days for the transaction to show up online. For the other, the transaction shows up immediately. If your credit card doesn't show transactions immediately, and that's an issue for you, get a different credit card. I get 1% cash back on every purchase in the form of a check at the end of the year -- last year I got a check for over $350. No debit card pays me to use it. Credit cards offer me zero liability, debit cards do not.

Credit card issuers make lots of money off of finance charges and late fees. As someone who doesn't carry a balance and doesn't make late payments, I am happy to have the cost of my credit card usage subsidized by those who do. The transaction fee they charge to the vendor is small potatoes compared to the finance charges and late fees.

We review and verify

We review and verify transactions weekly, not daily, so a small delay wouldn't bother us. I see no difference between verifying a large number of small transactions made through a bank account or a credit card account. It all comes through Quicken anyway (for us).

Everyone's preferences and quirks are different, of course.

Re surcharges and cash discounts: I second everything Doug G. said. I'm happy to have my purchases and my purchasing convenience subsidized by those who carry balances, those who pay late, and those who pay cash. This is only possible because using plastic is such a convenience that Visa et al are able to strongarm merchants into charging the same price for paper and plastic, and because most people are so bad at math and housekeeping that they go right on paying interest and late fees. Yay, team!

I recall a TV commercial for Chevron, where the theme ran along the lines of "Where others say NO, Chevron says YES! YES to cleaner fuel! YES to faster service! YES to cash discounts!" A few weeks later, I saw the commercial again - nearly identical, except that the last line was "YES to one price for cash or credit!"

I figured that the credit card companies beat them up pretty badly for trying to violate the terms of their merchant agreement, and when Chevron had to change their tune they did what they could to salvage the advertising campaign they'd already paid for.

The merchant agreements can't all have that clause in them, though... the liquor store near us charges a surcharge for credit cards. It's tacked on *after* the advertised price, not offered as a cash discount. I've seen that in a few other places as well, although very infrequently - one that stands out was a jewelry shop in the Bahamas.

I thought it was illegal to

I thought it was illegal to charge more for using a credit card than those paying cash. BUT, I was at an Enmark Station getting gas and noticed there were two prices. One for credit cards and one for cash. Freakin' rip off! I strongly urge all who read this to boycott Enmark Stations if you have them in your area.

As someone who frequently

As someone who frequently uses cash, I appreciate not being required to subsidize people who choose to use credit cards.

What the cash paying people

What the cash paying people need is a fee charged to all who cost the merchant more to sell products. Seems reasonable to expect the merchant to mark up his service to the card holders over his cost as well. Are the merchants not there to make a profit for what they do as well as the banks. Give the lower cost of cash the lower price it deserves and let the card holders pay there own fees if they value there use.