PINs are most commonly associated with debit cards, which allow the user to withdraw cash from his own bank account funds. Credit cards are close cousins of debit cards in many ways, including the physical appearance and the way transaction are processed between banks. Like debit cards, credit cards also sometimes have associated PIN numbers to make cash withdrawals.
Credit Card PINs
A credit card PIN gives the user access to the available credit line extended by the creditor. With a credit card PIN, the account holder can make what is called a cash advance withdrawal at the same ATMs that you would use for a debit card withdrawal. The credit card PIN is like a security checkpoint that gives you authorization to borrow directly against the available funds of the credit card as if it were a checking account.
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Getting a PIN
To get a credit card PIN, you may have to specifically contact the creditor to request one. The creditor then sends confirmation of the PIN to you in the mail. Some credit card companies can generate a temporary PIN number for immediate use. Not all creditors will allow you to take cash advances using a PIN with your credit card---this privilege varies by account.
Using a PIN to access available cash on a credit card is not a smart financial move. When you use a PIN to access credit card funds at an ATM machine, you have to pay expensive cash advance fees. The fees can range as high as 3 percent of the withdrawn amount or a minimum flat fee. You also may have to pay a higher interest rate on the amount of cash you borrow using a PIN.