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May 20, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Gas pump sign

Dave Marra writes:

This sign was posted on a texaco pump. It reads, "Debit cards are currently down due to the weather. Please use all cards as credit. Sorry for any inconvenience." What does weather have to do with debit cards?


Full moon?

Posted by: Paul at May 20, 2004 12:59 AM

When Tropical Storm Allison flooded Houston, Texas three years ago, it cut off debit card service here in Dallas because the center that did a great deal of debit card processing for the state of Texas in Houston was flooded.

Posted by: Radical Bender at May 20, 2004 01:05 AM

As Radical Blender states, the problem was probably the weather at the debit authorization center, not at that specific Texaco.

Posted by: Matt at May 20, 2004 09:53 AM

If you run your debit card transactions on an internet connection over a satillite link things will be effected by the weather. This would usually mean credit cards would also not work but you can always revert to those old carbon copy machines they used to use for credit card transactions.... Of course, i doubt this is the situation in the photo.


Posted by: jameso at May 20, 2004 06:00 PM

It''s also possible that a debit transaction requires entering a PIN on a keypad (quite common) while credit transactions do not.

Maybe the keypad was not working due to moisture.

Posted by: Tony at May 21, 2004 09:47 AM

This seems to suggest that all debit card transactions can be processed as credit card transactions, bypassing the PIN (bad) and the annoying manual choice between types of cards (good).

FYI, when a British friend first lived in the US, the supermarket checkout person asked him "Debit or credit?" to which he replied, "Erm, you debit my account and I credit yours. Why do you ask?" Only in the US do you have to explain which type your card is (weather permitting, of course).

Posted by: interlard at May 21, 2004 05:06 PM

Maybe some storm broke lines for debit cards ? :)

Posted by: Bill at May 23, 2004 09:10 PM

Maybe the weather just had all the debit cards depressed and they didn't feel like working.

Posted by: Seth at June 2, 2004 01:32 PM

Sure Bill, they have dedicated lines just for debit cards. Wouldn't that be like a phone line?

Posted by: Jenner at June 17, 2004 12:35 AM

Jameso: you misspelled "satellite" and "affected". It's called a dictionary; check it out.

Posted by: Chris S. at June 27, 2004 07:21 PM

"Only in the US do you have to explain which type your card is (weather permitting, of course)."

SHAADDD-UPPP!!! Have you traveled the entire world? It's not explaining, it's called a "choice".... so, to paraphrase your silliness, only in the US do you have a choice. Which sounds as stupid as your original comment.

Debit means "subtract." Meaning immediate withdrawal.

If you select "credit", it's handled differently. It's actually offline debit, very much like a check. Of course, there are cards that have a dual purpose, one for debit, and one for credit, as in credit cards.

Take a minute or two to read and you'll know you why there are separate systems. Hey, look at that! Two SEPARATE systems. Bill is right... it's not another "line", but it certainly links up to a different system.

If you select "credit," you are given a credit receipt to sign. "Credit" charges will appear on your next charge account bill.

Posted by: bb at July 5, 2004 09:39 PM

Debt cards are invalid during solar flares caused by the sun which messes with the satilite uplink.


14 Y.O.

Posted by: Mike at July 21, 2004 11:16 PM

"SHAADDD-UPPP!!! Have you traveled the entire world? It's not explaining, it's called a "choice".... so, to paraphrase your silliness, only in the US do you have a choice. Which sounds as stupid as your original comment. "

It's because the UK Visa "Debit" cards are marked "DEBIT CARD" near the Visa logo. I believe, the same is not true in the U.S. (at least, when i lived there). Also the UK system for Visa Debit/Credit uses the same process (No PIN) -- well, until recently.

That's why they never ask in the UK.

Posted by: Neil at March 18, 2005 02:36 PM

In Canada, an ATM card and debit card is one and the same. You get one automatically with your bank account. They work on the premise of a postive balance in your account.

A credit card allows you to spend money you may not have in your account, and is granted in trust that you'll make good on it, and with proof of reasonable means you can.

Now as to why weather would negate the ability to process one sort of transaction, it could be, as surmised, the weather affecting satellite comms, or closing down a data center

(which I would doubt the latter)

Posted by: Gary at March 29, 2005 12:00 AM

whats the point in having 1 card for debit and credit? given the intellectual capabiliies of americans isn't that just asking for trouble and unforseen debt?

Posted by: sam at April 13, 2005 10:16 AM

I used to work at Blockbuster Video in VA and we had this problem all the time when it was raining. Debit cards would not work at all but credit cards would. Sometimes they took a ridiculously long time, but I was told it was due to satellite interference.

Posted by: Amy at June 10, 2005 11:52 AM


(i know he's never going to read this, it's two months later, but...)

it's still a debit card, but it can either be authorized by PIN like an ATM card, or by signature & photo ID like a credit card.

Posted by: BBY at June 15, 2005 11:23 PM

It may be that debit cards can be swiped at the pumps but as credit cards have to dealt with in the shop. In this case the notice may be a fiction with the owner having too many problems with theft of petrol or use of stolen cards.

Posted by: Ian M at September 23, 2005 10:52 AM

Anything w/ a VISA or MASTERCARD LOGO should be processed like a Visa/MC credit card, whether or not they are debit cards or "check cards." Unless you're stupid, you would know that a debit/check card works like a credit card but takes your money out of your checking account. It does NOT put you in debt, or charge the purchase from one of your actual credit cards.

It's the general stupidity of people here that gave birth to the unnecessary "debit or credit" extravaganza.

Posted by: gayguy4straight at November 19, 2005 02:28 PM

Or, It could be a scam, you see scammers have recently begun to attach card skimmers into the internal electronics of gas pumps, check it out at:

and maybe the scammers wanted to get as many credit cards as possible, and since debit cards require PIN numbers they put up a fake sign.

Oh, and by the way Chris S. you are a retard I hate it when dumbasses say somebody mispelt something, who the fuck cares?

Posted by: do at March 4, 2006 02:41 PM


Posted by: d at March 4, 2006 02:42 PM

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