What is an ATM card and How to Use it?

An ATM card is one that you insert into an automated teller machine in order to perform certain transactions. ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine that enables you to withdraw money, check balance or perform other kinds of money transactions without the need of any bank representative.

What is an ATM card?

An ATM card is basically a card issued to you from your bank in which you hold an account. You can use this card at any ATM to perform transactions like withdrawing money, checking balance, etc. When you withdraw money from an ATM, the money is deducted from your bank account.

An ATM card consists of-

  • A 16-digit number which is known as a debit or ATM card number
  • The name of the account holder
  • The expiry date of the card (after an ATM card has expired, you can neither use it to make card payments nor for any transactions at an ATM)
  • Every ATM card has a 3-digit CVV (Credit Verification Value) number, meant for security purposes at the backside. Providing CVV means you actually have the physical card
  • It also has a magnetic stripe or a chip on the back or front side that contains all information about the account holder. When an ATM Card is inserted into an ATM, it automatically reads these details
  • An ATM Card may or may not be the same as a debit card

Difference Between an ATM card and a debit card

An ATM Card is not necessarily a debit card, as often thought of. ATM cards can be used only at ATMs but debit cards can be used for online payments or swiping at EFTPOS (Electronic Fund Transfer at Point of Sale). However, banks usually issue one debit card that is also your ATM card. If it is only an ATM card, it may bear logos like Maestro, Cirrus, or Plus. In case, it is a debit card, it may be Visa, Rupay, Mastercard or so.

How to Use an ATM card?

ATM Card is an easy, safe and quick way to perform mini bank transactions all by yourself without the help of a cashier. Follow the below steps to know how to use an ATM card for various transactions-

  • Go to the nearest Automated Teller Machine (ATM) irrespective of the bank. You can do transactions from any bank ATM even if you are not an account holder of the same
  • Insert the ATM card in the space provided in the ATM. It usually blinks when it is ready to take a new card and is marked by an arrow
  • Make sure you keep the front side of the ATM card on the top and place it clockwise. It is indicated on the screen if the card is not inserted properly as the ATM is unable to recognize the details
  • The magnetic stripe on the back of the card has all information of the account holder which is automatically recognized by the ATM server and then you can proceed with the transaction
  • The screen displays the steps to perform a transaction which can be used as a guide. You can also select the language at your convenience
  • Mostly there is a speaker in ATMs to give audio feedback and guide you through the process
  • You will be asked to log in using a PIN (Personal Identification Number). You get the first PIN from the bank after an ATM card is issued. You can and you must change this 4-digit PIN for security reasons, and remember it while making transactions
  • Once the transaction is complete, make sure you log out. Fraudsters may use this opportunity to transact money from your account if you miss logging out
  • Do not share your PIN or CVV number with anyone
Read More: What is CVV in an ATM Card

Benefits of ATM card

With an ATM card, you can perform many kinds of transactions without visiting the bank, lining up in queues to wait for your turn, and awaiting a bank representative. The benefits of availing of an ATM card are as follows-

  • You can withdraw money anywhere anytime without going to the branch. It helps you to have cash even when you are not in the place where you have the bank branch of which you are an account holder
  • You can also withdraw money when you are abroad. You might have to pay some overseas fee but it doesn’t lead to a financial crisis in a foreign land
  • You can check balance or transfer money if you do not have net banking
  • You can also pay taxes, utility bills, or insurance premiums, given that you are registered to avail of these benefits with your bank account branch
  • Similarly, you can also book railway tickets or recharge your mobile phone
  • Nowadays, ATMs also provide facilities to apply for Personal Loans and open or withdraw a Fixed Deposit (FD)
  • You can avail of these benefits 24×7, 365 days, in any part of the country

ATM cards are safe and secure to perform all the above transactions at the ease of your time & place. The only precaution that you need to take is to keep the cards in good condition, and not share personal information like PIN, OTP, or CVV with anyone. In case you lose your ATM card, contact your bank immediately to block the card and avoid any monetary loss.

Can ATM cards be issued to mini accounts or student accounts?
Yes, ATM cards can be issued to mini accounts and students’ accounts. It can be issued to all kinds of accounts, provided the applicant meets the basic terms and conditions of the respective banks. Moreover, issuing ATM cards doesn’t require a minimum balance.
Why am I unable to use my ATM card?
If you are unable to use your ATM card, check that your card is inserted properly. If it still does not work, then ensure that your card is in a good condition or the chip or magnetic stripe is not damaged. Also, check the expiry date of your card as it might have expired or been blocked.
Why is my ATM card blocked?
ATM cards are blocked either when the customer demands or if the bank suspects any fraud or illegal transaction. In order to prevent any mishappening, the card is blocked.
Which ATM card is best – Visa or Mastercard?
Both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted cards and come with several facilities to avail of. As these cards tie-up with banks and provide certain benefits, you can check out which of the cards is more suitable for you. Sometimes you may not have a choice to choose the type of card as it is mostly at the discretion of the bank to provide a particular card to a customer. For example, the credit limit provided to you may depend on your monthly income and hence the bank may decide what card should be given to you.
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