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Why Can't a Debit Card be Used?

Debit cards (those that draw from a checking account rather than a line of credit) cannot be used to purchase a subscription.  

There is a very good reason for this restriction:  

Every time your subscription renews, the system attempts to charge your account.  If there are insufficient funds available, the charge will be declined.  

Debit and Credit cards handle this situation very differently:

  • A credit card simply declines the transaction and in most cases notifies you.
  • A debit card may or may not approve the transaction.  However, if it is approved your account will go into a negative balance.  This can result in the charge then being reversed at a later date and will also result in you being hit with overdraft fees.

Either way, the system will periodically attempt to process the rebill again for the next few days.  This allows the payment to go through if funds become available for it.  Of course, with a credit card that continues to be no big deal if those funds aren't there.  But with a debit card you would rack up repeated NSF charges.

In short, while the fact that a debit card cannot be used for a subscription may be an inconvenience in the short term, that restriction exists specifically to protect you from potential major issues down the road.

Perpetual licenses don't rebill and so they aren't subject to this issue.  For that reason, a debit card may be used to purchase perpetual licenses.  Subscriptions, however, must use a credit card.

Thank you.

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  1. Matthew Yetter

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