Your Visa Debit Card Questions, Answered!

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-01-2014

Today, we have a short Q & A with Visa, one of our site’s sponsors. If you’re thinking of picking up a debit card, or if you’ve wondered about some of the nitty gritty issues behind such cards, here are a few points that may be of interest. Visa answers some of the more common questions that people are asking:

Visa Debit Card Facts

1. The main use for debit cards? Convenience.

Question: Why is the use of debit growing?

Visa Answers: People seem to be reaching for their debit cards for everyday expenditures for a variety of reasons. For one, debit cards can provide greater money management and control over your finances. They also offer convenience and security that cash and checks simply cannot, like protection for unauthorized purchases, faster checkout times, and the ability to earn rewards for purchases.

My Take: I know a lot of people who wonder why anyone would bother using debit cards instead of credit cards. After all, the argument for using credit cards is strong, as they provide the ability for us to build and establish credit, and to acquire a layer of protection and security for purchases made (e.g. if you lose the card, monetary loss is limited). This all sounds good, but everyone’s circumstances are different. It looks to me that the demand for debit cards is there because there will always be folks who may not qualify for credit cards, and who have problems with securing credit, especially with tighter credit requirements in place today. I also agree on the matter of using debit cards for convenience: I’d prefer to use a debit card or cash to make purchases, rather than resort to writing checks. Finally, there are folks who just swear off using credit and getting into debt in the process.

visa debit card faq, questions and answers

2. Merchants are not allowed to place additional requirements on debit card usage, beyond what Visa specifies.

Question: Are merchants allowed to place any restrictions on the acceptance of debit cards? Some examples of restrictions made by merchants: to require a minimum purchase, to add a processing fee for using a debit card, or to require someone to present an ID prior to accepting the card as a form of payment. Are consumers required to conform to such additional restrictions?

Visa Answers: Our rules require merchants to always honor valid Visa cards regardless of the purchase amount. When you see the Visa logo, you should expect to be able to make a transaction without worrying if your card is accepted. If you come across a merchant who requires a minimum purchase requirement on Visa transactions, call the number on the back of your Visa card or 1-800-Visa-911 and provide the customer service representative with the name and location of the merchant.

If you’re looking for more information on this subject, do check out our other post that covers Visa Debit Card facts. This article also answers a couple of popular questions often asked by debit card holders.

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam January 20, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Holy cow, do you really have a Visa sponsorship. I have been reading you for a long time, I didn’t know you were that big. Congrats. Good post btw. 🙂

Silicon Valley Blogger January 20, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Actually, I’m not as big as some others (“big” is a relative term of course) — but like many other personal finance bloggers, I do get involved with advertising certain products for certain financial companies. Some prominent advertisers may include the Lending Club and ING, whose presence you’ll see on some sites. When you blog full time, the income has to come somewhere 😉 . Thanks for leaving such a nice note!

Drew January 21, 2009 at 8:54 am

As you said – everyone’s circumstances are different. I have never seen a debit card with “true” fraud protection. If a card is “used” then it was “used” because the pin was in place. Regardless of the fact that a 4 digit pin is easy to fake, it is embedded on the card, and can very easily be scammed or skimmed. I only use a debit card at Costco as they don’t take credit. Everywhere else, it is credit because when I get double charged from Walmart or what ever, the dispute is resolved easily.

As for the use of credit, that is a big deal. My parents are a great example of this problem. They used their debit card for over a decade, and did not think anything of it. They paid off their house, cars, etc. and closed their other credit accounts because they had cards that worked. They had a zero (0) on their credit scores since they did not use any credit. When they went to purchase something, I forget what, and they wanted to take advantage of a pay it off in a year with zero interest thing. They denied them since they had not credit score. They had almost 8 figures in the bank, but could not finance a $1k purchase to not have to pay for it a few months from then. A few weeks later, my father retired from his job of 25 years, and applied at a local university to teach adjunct a night class. He had his M.S. and could very easily do the job. He was denied the position again – because his credit score was too low.

The biggest issue is that credit is tied with everything. Job apps, any finance, everything. It is always good to use credit if you can, responsibly. If you cannot handle it as you will blow it, then yeah .. do what you gotta do, but I think people don’t realize the extent which credit comes into play in your everyday life. Unfortunately.

AmeriGlide January 21, 2009 at 8:57 am

Personally, and this is something that has kind of come back to bite me in the but in this current economic situation, but I am not a fan of using money I don’t have, so have always avoided getting a credit card. As a result, I use my Visa Debit card when I need credit card like functionality.

I don’t think I would have had trouble getting a credit card before, as I had been getting a good number of credit card offers. Now though, I haven’t really been getting credit card offers, but will probably end up getting one from my bank. I just really don’t like the idea of credit I guess…

Moneymonk January 21, 2009 at 11:37 am

I want a VISA sponsor!

I was once at a merchant and I bought perhaps $2 of stuff on my debit card and once I got to the registar, they told me the minimum purchase was $10. (they had a sign) I purposely bought more stuff. I did not mind because it was stuff I needed and was not going to waste. However, I did not know I can call VISA

Kc walsh January 21, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Hey there, Thanks for the Q and A, I do have to point out that it is much easier to use a debit card than a credit card and in addition, with a debit card, the charges are less. Naturally, with a debit card, you need not worry about your credit bill as you would be paying at the time of transaction.
On the part of some retailers asking you to purchase a certain amount before they will accept your cards, that is unfortunately true. It has happened to me and I am sure that it has happened to many others as well. Not much we can do about it except to report the retailer.

Raji pranza January 21, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I do agree with you on debit cards being much better than credit cards. Having used both, yeah, I definitely have to say that debit cards are so much better than CC’s. For one, with debit cards, you get to pay on the spot and do not have to go through the hassle of interest on credit card bills. For the other, debit cards charge much less.

Travis January 22, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I have my trusty visa debit card and its about the only thing I use. I have never had a credit card and hope I never have to. I’ve always been discouraged to have one from my parents and I really just don’t see the need for a credit card. I also hardly ever carry cash on me. If I do have some its never more than a few dollars. The only thing I dislike about the debit card is it has a limit of $400 a day, so if I’m gonna spend more than that I have to call my bank and get them to take that off. I know I could have them take if off for good, but they don’t like to do that because of the risk involved.

Jerry January 25, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I think debit cards are a great way to make sure you spend within your means.

Dale Hargrave February 2, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Can i go somewhere locally and get a one time use Visa debit card without filling out my personal info?

Silicon Valley Blogger February 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm


Now why would you want to do that? How about just use cash?

Richard | Visa Debit February 8, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Good post here on Visa Debit, clears a few things up. While debit cards have been around for ages the latest range of Visa debit cards do take things further and make them much more international with acceptance.

Arthur K September 11, 2009 at 5:40 am

Thanks for the explanation. This has a become a very popular service for Australian financial institutions

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