Credit/Debit Cards

How do I use an EMV card to make a purchase?

Just like magnetic-stripe cards, chip cards are processed for payment in two steps: card reading and transaction verification. However, chip cards are read in a different way.

Instead of swiping your card, you will insert it into a slot on the bottom front of the pin pad and wait for it to process.

It takes a little longer for a chip-card transaction to happen. If you pull the card out before the payment is complete, the transaction will not complete and you will have to start the payment process again.

Just insert your chip card and follow the prompts on the terminal screen to complete the payment. Once the payment is complete, remove your card so the receipt can print.

How soon are the funds released?

It varies. Banks and credit unions operate differently, some react faster than others. Our customer service team has tools available to validate the transaction. If our research shows that DeCA actually received payment for the initial transaction, we can process a reversal immediately. If the agency was not paid, you have to work directly with your bank or credit union. In that case, you should file a dispute as soon as possible.

I swiped my debit card and the transaction was denied at the cash register. I then paid for my purchase with a credit card. I checked my bank account afterward and saw that the debit transaction was posted to my account. How do I get it resolved?

Your first action should always be to contact the toll free number on the back of your card. You may have to file a dispute with your financial institution. Afterward, contact the credit card customer service team toll free 1–800–522–0780 or email

What is EMV (Chip Card), and why is it important to commissary patrons?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. It is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, U.S. card issuers are migrating to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud.

Between March and July of 2016, DeCA will be incrementally rolling out EMV capabilities at commissaries worldwide, allowing patrons to make more secure transactions with chip-enabled cards.

As stores become chip-enabled, patrons will see notices at the registers and self-checkouts with instructions on how to use the chip card to complete a purchase.

Who can I call at the Defense Commissary Agency if I have questions on my credit or debit card purchase?

Questions about credit or debit card purchases can be addressed to the agency's customer service team toll free 1–800–522–0780 or email (For security reasons, do not cite a card number in the email; include your name and phone number. We will call you to get additional information.) You may contact the customer service team between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. If you're not able to make contact via the toll free number you can call (804) 765–2900 or (804) 765–2945/2946.

Why would the debit card purchase show on my checking account if I was told it was denied?

Most likely, the data transmission was somehow interrupted and generated a denial code at store level. The transaction will show on your account as "pending." A second transmission has to be sent to confirm your card purchase. When no confirmation is received, the pending transaction should be released and funds returned for your access. 
Our customer service team is available to research the transaction for you and provide assistance for a quick resolution.

Will DeCA still accept my magnetic-stripe credit or debit card?

Yes, as long as your card issuer has not already replaced it with a chip-enabled card. DeCA will accept your magnetic stripe card as long as it is still valid with the card issuer; you will swipe it through the card reader the same way you've done in the past.

Will I still have to sign or enter a PIN for my card transaction?

It generally depends on the verification method tied to your chip card. Currently, there aren't many credit card issuers requiring a PIN; most are chip-and-signature cards.

When making a chip-and-signature card transaction, you sign on the point-of-sale terminal to take responsibility for the payment.

DeCA is equipped for chip-and-signature credit transactions; however using a debit card will require you to enter a pin.

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