Debit cards have been the subject of open warfare for quite a while now, but it seems that both sides have recently gathered impressive new weaponry.

Supporters of PIN-based debit cards are rallying behind a product that will make those cards work on the Internet, while proponents of signature-based debit cards have been buoyed by rising transaction numbers and by Citibank's recent decision to issue the cards to its depositors. Ultimately, the issue of whether one type of debit card will prevail over the other is likely to be decided in court. The so-called Wal-Mart case - a class action that pits four million merchants against Visa and MasterCard - will likely go to trial in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York sometime next year, and will challenge the "honor all cards" rule that requires merchants who take Visa and MasterCard credit cards to accept those brands of debit cards as well.

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