Merchant Services: PINless debit

What is PINless debit?

Pin-less debit is the online solution to the retail pin debit transaction. The business gets pin-debit rates in a card not present environment, including ecommerce, even though the customer is not present to enter their pin number. There is no limit on the transaction and the money releases from the owners account immediately.

Who can use PINless debit?

There are three elements to the transaction:

  1. The debit network must participate. STAR, PULSE, ACCEL and NYCE at this writing. The symbols are on the back of all debit cards.
  2. The debit network must offer the service to the business. Only certain low risk industries are qualfied to participate in the program, ostensibly to increase the ease to consumers of making regular bill payments. Each debit network can determine which merchant types they want to accept. The following are typically offered :
    • Utilities (electric power, natural gas, telephone, cable, cellular, satellite, etc.)
    • Government agency payments (taxes, fees, fines and penalties, etc.)
    • Education institutions (higher education tuition payments)
    • Insurance companies (property, casualty, health and life)
    • Financial institutions- secured loan providers, closed-end loan payments (mortgage and motor vehicle)
    • Rent/lease payments
  3. The merchant's payment processor must offer it. Not all credit card processors participate in the program. The merchant will need a mail order/ telephone order, or more likely, an ecommerce account.

NYCE expanded pinless debit industry list

What does PINless debit cost?

Merchants pay debit network fees, plus additional fees as outlined in their merchant services agreement. Pinless debit rates vary by industry and processor. Some have a cap per transaction, some don't. See Debit Network Fee schedule. Unless there is a special category indicated, merchants will get the standard pin-debit retail rate.

  • STAR .80% plus $.2025
  • PULSE .74% plus $.18
  • NYCE- varies by industry from flat rate $.55 up to 1.1%


Merchants are required to provide the option to bill payers about how they want their payment applied- as a signature debit or pinless debit.

Pinless transactions post virtually immediately in real-time. ACH posts usually take 2 days.

You cannot do a VOID if you make a mistake or issue a refund. The only known exception for refunds is available for CenPOS customers. In that case, you can refund the card as a credit, provided there is a corresponding transaction in the system. The refund will settle with your regular batch. CenPOS is a switch - it's up to your processor and the card issuing bank when the customers account is funded, usually taking up to 5 business days.