I have a VISA card from a major USA bank. I always ask if I can have a card without support for DEBIT (cash advances). I'm wondering if VISA even allows that.

In case you're curious for the reason why: I never use that feature, and in the USA, every credit card terminal always asks if the transaction is Debit or Credit. However, if you use a card from American Express which doesn't support DEBIT, the machines do not ask. I'd like to have my VISA card and never be asked that question again.

  • They have to ask because they don't know if you have a credit or debit card.
    – RonJohn
    Aug 16 '19 at 15:25
  • They don't have to ask. They ask because debit is cheaper, so they want you to use that instead.
    – xyious
    Aug 16 '19 at 15:51
  • They don't ask for American Express cards. I'm wondering if the terminal is hard-coded to do that, or if there's something in the magnetic strip to tell the terminal whether DEBIT is supported.
    – Harvey
    Aug 16 '19 at 19:32
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    Seems to me that even if you got such a card, the machine might still ask because it doesn't check before asking the question.
    – Jay
    Aug 16 '19 at 20:44

I still don't know if VISA allows cards without cash advance capabilities, but I found out that the "Service Code" portion of the magnetic strip data indicates restrictions on card use including ATM and Cash.


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    Service code only comes into play when the transaction is sent for authorization (i.e. after the POS has already validated the card and well after you've hit the button to indicate credit or debit). The choice between debit and credit is essentially a choice about which type of transaction to send, and as far as I'm aware the choices you're presented at a POS terminal are dependent on the bin number on the card and not influenced by the service code. I don't know if there are any VISA cards that behave like you're asking.
    – dwizum
    Aug 19 '19 at 13:28
  • I tried creating a clone of my credit card with the debit flag unset, but every machine I tried it on still asked. Based on my reading, I (think) that when credit cards first came out, vendors didn't always program them correctly or set the bits correctly, so machines have historically ignored the bit and asked regardless. I think American Express doesn't have this problem because it came later and was known not to support advances.
    – Harvey
    Oct 5 '20 at 15:33

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