Each merchant is responsible for setting-up their terminal. This includes the customer interface design and how a transaction is processed.
Customers may see different terms now being used on screen prompts. Some merchants have used off-the-shelf terminals that come with displays that say “Visa Debit” or “US Debit” as options. Other merchants have customized their prompts and may follow more traditional terms like displaying “credit” and “debt”.
Merchants are required by Visa rules to allow a customer to authorize a payment by both a signature and PIN. If a merchant only allows PIN or only allows signature, they have set-up their terminal outside the network rules. The networks are working with identified merchants to solve this set-up issue. To be prepared in case you encounter a merchant with a terminal outside network rules, make sure you have your PIN. You can visit a branch or call the number on the back of your card to have one mailed to you. If a merchant terminal will not process a debit card using a PIN, request the merchant to process the transaction as credit. Depending upon the merchant set-up, this may allow the debit card to process with a signature.
The flexibility in merchant set-up has caused some confusion in the marketplace as a customer’s experience may vary by merchant. As the payment ecosystem continues to migrate to EMV, The customer experience is expected to become more seamless from store to store as the migration to EMV reaches maturity.