Debit Card

When you use a debit card to make a payment, it directly reduces the amount of money in your bank account by the purchase price. Debit cards are different than credit cards, which you can use to buy things now while promising to pay later.

A debit card, sometimes referred to as a bank card, provides a way to withdraw funds from either a checking account or a savings account. Debit cards are most commonly issued from a bank or a credit union. With this small plastic card, you don’t need to carry cash or checks around, making it a convenient option for purchases.

How Can I Use My Debit Card?

You can use a debit card anywhere that cash or checks are accepted. When you apply to get a debit card, you will also need to set up a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) used for debit purchases with your card.

When making your purchase in person, you will be prompted to enter your PIN and verify the purchase amount. Or you can choose to use a credit option, which will mean that you will have to sign for authorization. Instead of the funds being immediately taken out, it takes a few days for the transaction to go through. Regardless if you choose debit or credit, the funds will be taken out of your checking account.

You can also use them online, and in this scenario, you will not need to use your PIN. Many people use their debit cards to set up automatic payments like subscriptions, bills, and debt payments. With online purchases, the debit card will be used as a credit option.

ATM Services Available When Using a Debit Card?

Some ATMs only provide cash when you use your debit card, while others may offer more services such as:

  • Depositing or withdrawing cash
  • Depositing a check
  • Transferring money to or from your checkings into savings
  • Checking your balance
  • Bill payments

Differences Between Credit and Debit Transactions With Your Debit Card

To reiterate, the only difference between a credit and debit transaction with your bank card is how the funds are processed. A credit transaction takes longer for the vendor to get the funds because of an authorization process. While with a debit transaction, the funds are sent right away through the authorization of your PIN.

Can I Have More Than One Debit Card?

Yes, you can have more than one debit card. Here are the scenarios where you may find yourself having more than one debit card:

  • When you share a checking or savings account with another person, such as a spouse or parent, they can also get a debit card linked to the account.
  • If you are banking with more than one financial institution, you will get a debit card from each.

Best Instances To Use a Debit Card vs. A Credit Card

Some pros and cons can come with debit cards and credit cards for your purchases.

With debit cards, it is easier to keep track of where your funds are being spent and help you stay on Budget. They tend to be much safer than carrying cash or checks and offer some essential protection.

For those building their credit, debit cards may be their only option for having the convenience of a portable card. However, you will not receive any rewards for spending with debit cards, and there is not as much fraud protection as a credit card.

With credit cards, spending funds will often mean reward points translated to purchases, travel expenses, or cash-back. Credit card providers have sophisticated fraud protection set up, so you can rest assured that unauthorized transactions will be taken care of. However, with credit cards, because you are borrowing the funds from the credit card company, they will need to be paid back with interest. Credit card debt can snowball if left unchecked, and for many, it’s not the best primary payment option.

What Happens if I Misplace or Damage My Debit Card?

If you lose or damage your debit card, you first need to let your card provider know. You can call them (most have a 24-hour line to call) or contact them online. If you have lost your debit card, it can be canceled right away, and your bank/credit union should issue a new card and mail it to you. Your new debit card will be sent in 1–3 business days with most banks or credit unions.

If your card is damaged, you can request a new one (it will have the same card number as your current card) and it will also be mailed to you.

Troubleshooting With a Debit Card

When you are having issues with using your debit card, such as transactions being declined even if you have the appropriate funds or your pin not working, your bank or credit union should—again—be the first one you contact.

A few common instances when you might have trouble authorizing a transaction include:

  • Making purchases abroad
  • Having moved recently and not updated your address with your bank/financial institution
  • Forgetting your four-digit PIN
  • Having a check or automatic payment go through right before your transaction
  • Your debit card may be expired

How To Check the Balance on My Debit Card

There are many easy methods to check your account balance. Many financial institutions have you set up an online account where you can manage your accounts. Once set up, this online portal can be accessed at any time and can be used to view your account balance.

When checking your account in public, make sure to use trusted wifi, so your log-in information Is safe! Additionally, please pay attention to pending charges, as they can provide an accurate balance amount.

Calling your debit card provider is another great option for checking your account balance. In most cases, the process is automated and speedy.

Fees That Can Come With a Debit Card

With a debit card, there will be a few fees to look out for:

Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid debit cards can be found at most major and minor retailers.

In most scenarios, they will be in the same section with all the gift cards. Visa, Mastercard, American Express all have prepaid debit cards. You can also choose other independent companies online, such as Green Dot or Netspend. You can load cash onto a card directly without having a bank account.

Additionally, there are never any fees that come with these cards. Also, there are prepaid cards that can help with credit-building or credit repair.

Debit cards are a safe and convenient alternative to cash. The funds for your debit card are primarily linked to a checking account, and you can access the funds quickly when you need them. Although debit cards can come with fees, there are no fees for using funds, as the money is already yours. While a debit card can be a solid option for purchases, a credit card may provide more perks in some instances. Most people tend to have both options and use them interchangeably to get the most out of their purchases.

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