To the extent possible, we are asking all of our members to select debit (PIN-based transaction) when making a purchase, as opposed to running it as a signature-based transaction. This is to help cut down on fraud. While the security of the system is the same whether you use credit or debit, using the PIN provides an additional layer of security over just using the card. The card itself can be replicated, but the chances of a fraudster guessing your PIN are slim.
When highly publicized retail breaches occur, they are presented in such a way that it appears the credit card companies and retail stores cover the cost of the fraud. The truth is, the financial institution where you have your debit card must absorb the cost. When there is fraud on a member’s card, those funds need to be returned to the member. Whenever fraud is confirmed on a member’s account, Peach State reimburses the money the member lost. In 2014, we experienced 593 cases of debit card fraud and reimbursed our members more than $94,000. For obvious reasons, we want to keep fraudulent transactions from happening. It’s stressful for our members, but it also impacts our operating costs, and our ability to continue providing quality products and services with low fees.
To help reduce the amount of fraud our members experience, we have blocked numerous retail categories (i.e., discount stores, grocery stores, beauty supply stores) from accepting signature-based transactions. You will find that if you try to make a purchase at one of these retailers as a signature-based transaction, the transaction will be declined. The purpose is not to deliberately embarrass or inconvenience, but to protect both our members and the credit union. So, if you are at a merchant and your card is declined, try the transaction as a debit. If you do not know your PIN, you will need to complete the transaction using a different payment method. Unfortunately, we will be unable to make exceptions to this rule. If you need to have your card re-pinned, please stop in at any one of our branch locations.