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Processing a Debit Transaction for US Merchants

The information in this article is for merchants using Helcim's Legacy System. If you signed up for Helcim on or after June 1, 2020, please click here.

Selecting between the debit and credit networks when processing US debit cards

Debit transactions in the US are charged differently depending on which network they go through, either the debit network, or the credit network. Either method results in a debit transaction for your customer, but the transaction fees you (the merchant) pay are different depending on which network is used.

When using US PIN debit cards, if your terminal has the latest terminal application it should automatically select the debit network by default when it identifies that your customer is using a debit card and ask your customer to enter their PIN. This was recently made the default debit transaction type, as a PIN is required, the transaction is less likely to be fraudulent and the interchange fees are lower. To be able to complete the transaction on the debit network your customers will need to know their PINs which may be new to them if they are used to selecting the credit network when using their debit cards. You do have the option to bypass the debit network and process the transaction on the credit network if needed, for example - when your customer doesn’t know their PIN (see below). For more information on this recent change to processing US PIN debit, check out this page here.

How to Process a US Debit Card

PIN Debit (default):

  • Press 1 for SALE.
  • Enter the sale amount and press the Green OK button.
  • Insert the chip card into the reader.
  • The customer will enter their PIN and press the Green OK button.
  • The transaction will be authorized over the debit network.
  • Select YES or NO for the customer copy of the receipt.

Override to Signature Debit:

If you have a customer who wants to pay using their debit card but wants to process the transaction on the credit (Signature Debit) network, you can bypass the PIN debit network by following these steps from the “Enter PIN” screen to bypass the PIN requirement on your Ingenico terminal:

  • Instead of entering a PIN on the “Enter PIN” screen, press the “Yellow” key on the terminal.
  • The terminal will ask you if you want to try without using a PIN.
  • Select “Yes”.
  • Ask the cardholder to remove and then reinsert their debit card.
  • The transaction will now be initiated on the credit network.
  • Complete the transaction as usual.
  • NOTE: The terminal may still show the transaction is a debit sale.

Learn More

We believe that helping you better understand the payments industry can help you make better decisions for your business.

Here are some additional articles that might be helpful:

If you have any questions, please call Helcim Support at 1-877-643-5246.

Related Articles

Processing a Sale
Processing a Refund
Voiding a Transaction
Processing a Keyed Transaction
Pre-Authorizing a Credit Card
Capturing a Pre-Authorization

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