5 Awesome Things to Know About Debit Cards

Right when your salary gets credited, you wouldn’t want to wait to buy that dress online using your debit card! This is how easy debit cards have made our life. Just enter your PIN and voila, you are done! No need to worry about repaying the amount after a few days, unlike credit cards.

In this blog, we will talk about the importance of a debit card and 5 other attractive things about it.

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card (also called a plastic card, check card or bank card) is a type of payment card that allows one to make transactions without the use of physical cash. A debit card is issued by a bank and handed over to the user along with a banking kit that contains a cheque book, passbook and other banking credentials. A debit card can be used at ATMs, or for online and offline transactions.

Unlike credit cards, a debit card limits the user’s capability to spend more than the amount in his/her bank account. A debit card should not be confused with an ATM card. ATM cards can only be used at ATMs to withdraw cash, while debit cards have additional uses.

Benefits of Debit Cards

Following are the benefits of a debit card-

Accountability

A debit card makes you accountable for all your transactions. Nobody else apart from the cardholder can use the debit card until or unless you have voluntarily shared your debit card credentials with the other person. Hence, you become accountable for any transaction made through your debit card online/offline or at ATMs. In case you detect any fraudulent activity or transaction that has not been initiated by you, it is advised to connect with the bank at the earliest.

Budget Management

Though indirectly, a debit card helps you manage your budget. For example- whenever you purchase an item online/offline or withdraw some cash from the ATM, the same transaction value is deducted from your bank account in real time. After the successful transaction, an instant notification is shared with you on your registered mobile number and email id. This notification helps you to figure out the difference between the credited value and the left balance in the account. The difference between the values makes you aware of how much to spend and how much to save for upcoming events.

Security

Debit cards are considered secure as no one other than the cardholder can use them for any transaction. In case, a debit card gets lost or misplaced, the card owner can block it anytime by connecting with his/her bank. Moreover, a security chip has been recently added to debit cards, which makes them even more secure against online theft or fraudulent activities. However, it is still the responsibility of the card owner to manage the debit card responsibly.

Easy Access

The process of getting a debit card is quite simple and quick. One does not even need to go through a lot of paperwork. All you need is a bank account, a few documents and an application form and the debit card will be delivered to your registered address later along with the bank’s welcome kit.

Prevention against Theft

A stolen/lost/misplaced debit card can be blocked by connecting with the respective bank. A blocked debit card cannot be used further for any kind of payment or cash withdrawal even if one has access to the PIN number or CVV number. Thus, keeping a regular check on any suspicious activity on a debit card helps a user stay away from online/offline thefts.

Reward Points

There are multiple debit cards that allow one to earn reward points against the transactions made on debit cards. The user can redeem these earned or rewarded points for future transactions.

Specifications of a Debit Card

A debit card is not merely a card with some random details, it is, in fact, finely curated to define all the required bank and user information. This is how a debit card looks like-

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Listed below are the specifications of a debit card-

  • Dimensions of a debit card- ISO/IEC 7810#ID-1
  • 16 digit embossed or printed card number
  • Signature strip
  • CVV number
  • Magnetic stripe
  • Bank logo
  • Hologram
  • Card name- VISA, Master, Maestro or others

How Does a Debit Card Work?

A debit card works in 3 ways- offline, online and at ATMs

  • Offline
  1. At POS, a merchant adds the product purchase details of the user
  2. Next, the merchant swipes the user’s debit card to the card swiping machine
  3. After this, the user must enter the PIN to verify the transaction
  4. Upon successful verification, the merchant receives the payment and an instant notification is sent to the user
  • Online
  1. For any online transaction, a user is required to enter the card holder’s name, the 16-digit debit card number, CVV number, and the card’s expiry date (The user can choose to save these card details for future transactions)
  2. After this, an OTP will be sent to the user’s registered mobile number
  3. After entering the OTP, the user will have to enter the PIN to complete the transaction
  • ATMs
  1. To perform a debit card transaction (which means cash withdrawal only) at an ATM, the user must begin by inserting the debit card into the ATM machine
  2. Next, the user must choose the type of account, the total amount to be withdrawn and enter the PIN number
  3. Once done, the cash can be collected from the ATM machine

How to Get a Debit Card?

Getting a debit card is a simple process as explained below-

  • Compare a list of banks and finalize the one you want to have an account with
  • After selecting the type of account, open a new bank account with the respective bank

(Note that the above two steps must be followed only in case of a new bank account. If you already have a bank account, you can get a debit card from the same bank)

  • As your bank account gets opened, you can ask your bank for a debit card, which will be sent to your address along with the bank’s welcome kit
  • Lastly, you need to activate your debit card either by phone, online or using an ATM to start using it

Note- You can apply for a prepaid debit card if you don’t have a bank account, however, you might have to incur some additional charges for using the card.

Things to keep in Mind while using a Debit Card

Any form of payment is prone to theft, all it requires is one to be aware of the process. Here are a few things you should always keep in mind before using a debit card-

  • Keep your PIN a secret
  • Make sure you are using only secure platforms for online payments
  • Be aware while making payment at POS
  • Keep the habit of checking your account details and amount on a regular basis. Check where and how you are spending your money. In case you find some unauthorized transactions, report them to the bank at the earliest
  • Do not manage your card casually. Do not expose it to sharp objects, dirt, or magnetic objects
  • Change your ATM pin number from time to time
  • Properly dispose of your old debit cards if they are no longer in use
  • Register for transactions alerts

FAQs
Do Debit cards have fees?
There are debit cards that charge fees, though they can be avoided. The fee is basically charged for using the ATM machine out of the bank’s network or using the debit card in some other country.
What is the difference between credit cards and debit cards?
A credit card allows users to buy things today and pay that same amount after a particular time period whereas debit cards utilize the balance in one’s account.
What to do if the debit card gets stolen?
Connect with your bank immediately and block your debit card at the earliest without any delay.
What can be the alternative to debit cards?
One can use a credit card instead of using a debit card. When used responsibly and with full accountability, a credit card even helps in building a good credit score.
What are the benefits of debit cards?
ere are the benefits of debit cards-
  • Can be used as an alternative to hard cash
  • Debit cards can be used at ATMs and for online purchases
  • Offers security with a secret PIN
  • It provides bonuses, rewards and other deals
  • Easy to carry
  • The card can be customized upon request
What is a debit card PIN?
A debit card PIN, called Personal Identification Number is a 4-digit unique code offered to the user as a debit card security feature. It is required to complete any debit card based transaction.
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