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Debit Card

ATM Cards Types & Benefits

Last Updated 22nd Sep 2020

MasterCard Debit Card International card that provides secure and convenient fund transfer
Visa Debit Card International card with secure payments
Rupay Debit Card Domestic card with lower transaction cost and reduced processing fee
Contactless Debit Card Faster cash transactions by dipping or swiping the card
Maestro Debit Card Instant cash access without waiting for fund verification

What is Debit Card?

A debit card is a card that allows the cardholder to transfer money electronically from their bank account when making any kind of purchase. To complete your purchase, you will require a four-digit Personal Identification Number. Debit cards are one of the most popular means used for fund transactions. You can enjoy electronic access to your savings account in any bank via debit cards. It helps you to withdraw or deposit cash without standing in long queues. In addition, you can use it for internet banking and mobile banking services.

Nowadays, many banks also offer the feature debit card EMI feature. In this, you have the option to convert any big purchase from your debit card into easy EMIs.

Benefits of Debit Cards

The tools like debit and credit card make it extremely easy to perform transactions, whether offline or online. In offline cases, you no longer have to carry cash everywhere, and in case of online, you are not required to log in to your net banking for each online transaction. You might be familiar with rewards and offers provided by credit card, but there are numerous benefits of debit cards as well. Some such benefits are:

  • Helps in Budgeting: The payments or transactions performed through a debit card gets cleared instantly, which means it immediately tells you how much money you are left with. Thus, each time you perform a transaction, you also get a reconciliation of expenses. The remaining balance serves as the right reminder of how much money you can afford to spend in future and where you should spend it.
  • Security: If you ever had to experience the theft of your wallet, you can understand how it feels when your cash is gone. However, the debit card provides security to your money as no one can use the card at an ATM without knowing your PIN, and the same is the case with making online transactions which are either confirmed through an online PIN or an OTP generated on your registered mobile number. Also, the recent addition of EMV chips in debit cards offers additional protection.
  • Rewards: You must have heard of credit card rewards. However, in view of encouraging cashless transactions, some debit cards have also joined the rewards programme. The reward system works similarly as in credit cards; you get rewards based on the purchases made through your signature and not by using the PIN.
  • Very Low fee and charges: Unlike credit cards which have an annual fee, interest rate on each purchase and sometimes a transaction fee as well, the debit card, on the other hand, has considerably less yearly maintenance charges. Some debit cards might also have ATM fees, but it is very nominal and charged every year. In comparison to the cost or fee incurred to carry a credit card, the fees for a debit card is extremely low.
  • Accountability for Spending: In the case of credit cards, you do not have to pay for the purchases made until next month. However, debit cards act as a check card since it removes the money from your account right away. Thus, real-time payment makes you accountable for your spendings and holds you before you cross the mark of overspending. The extent of making impulsive purchases comes down when you are making payments through a debit card.
  • No Interest: One of the best reasons to use a debit card is it does not charge interest on your purchases, unlike credit cards. The APR of a credit card ranges from 35% to 52%, and not paying the balance off each month can hurt you financially. However, in case of a debit card, you have no such things to worry about.
  • Debit card Linked to Savings Account: Generally, a debit card is extended on a savings account which also earns you interest. Although many savings accounts also have a minimum balance requirement, you get the benefit of earning and interest and using a debit card too.

How Do I Apply Online for a Debit Card?

You can apply for a debit card by visiting the bank's website. Here are the steps you can follow to apply for a Debit Card online:

Step 1: Visit the official website of the bank.

Step 2: Login to your net banking account.

Step 3: Different banks provide the option of applying for debit cards under different headings. However, you can probably find the option under the 'services' section or similar option.

You can also apply for a debit card while opening your savings account in the bank.

Top Banks providing Debit Cards in India

Top banks that provide Debit Card services in India are as follows:

  • HDFC Bank debit cards: The bank offers 11 types of debit cards with attractive offers and features to Indian customers. Online transactions are secure and are done through Visa and MasterCard SecureCode platforms.
  • ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank allows you to choose from 31 cards categorized under Premium, Personal, Business, Expressions and Unifare.
  • Axis Bank: Axis Bank gives you the option of designing your debit card. The banks offer a total of 17 debit cards categorized under commercial, premium, business, etc.
  • State Bank of India: State Bank of India provides an eclectic array of Visa, MasterCard, and RuPay debit cards. The bank offers 10 different debit cards as per the spending habits of the customers. 
  • Punjab National Bank: The bank offers debit cards in collaboration with MasterCard and RuPay. You can choose from 5 different types of debit cards along with the add-on card if required.

Safety Tips for First-Time Debit Card Users

Listed below are some of the safety tips for first-time users of a debit card:

  • Keep your PIN a secret: Make sure to keep your Debit Card pin safe and secure. Memorise the four-digit pin by heart and don't share it with anyone. Also, never share your pin on the phone, email, or any other social media platform.
  • Make online payments through secure platforms: You need to be careful while carrying out online transactions via debit cards. Make sure that you use your debit cards only on secure websites asking for authentication. The authentication process prevents debit card credentials from getting leaked.
  • Follow RBI's mandate: Make sure that you authenticate every PoS transaction by entering your PIN and completing the entire purchase transaction.
  • Keep a track of your money in the account: Make sure to check your account statement on regular intervals to know where and how much have you been spending. If you come across any unauthorised transactions, make sure to report it immediately. 
  • Keep your card protected: Make sure that you do not expose your card to dirt, sharp objects, and other magnetic objects. Also, make sure that the magnetic strip behind your card doesn't get damaged. If it happens, you cannot carry out any transactions by swiping your card.

Debit Card Vs Credit Card

Debit and Credit Cards look similar in appearance, but they function differently. A debit card is linked to the bank account of the customer and hence, once swiped, the amount is instantly deducted from the bank account. On the other hand, a credit card allows the cardholder to purchase goods and services on credit and pay it back over time. The bank issue this card based on the credit history and eligibility of the customers. They come with joining fees and annual fees.

Dos and Don'ts of Debit Card

  • Make sure to sign on the back of your debit card as soon as you receive it. Your card is considered authentic only if you sign in the space provided on your card.
  • Memorise your debit card pin and don't share it with anyone. 
  • While withdrawing money from an ATM, make sure that no one else is there with you.
  • Keep changing your ATM pin from time to time.
  • Dispose of your old debit cards if you are not using them anymore.
  • Do not throw your balance receipt in the ATM counter itself. Fraudsters and hackers can use this information to gain access to your bank account.
  • Keep a tab on your daily transactions. In case you notice any unusual activity, report it immediately. 
  • In case your credit card gets lost or stolen, get it blocked immediately. You can call your bank's customer care number. 
  • Register for SMS or email alerts to stay updated with your transactions. 
  • When shopping online with your debit card, make sure the website of the e-tailer starts with https. This means the website is secure and genuine. 
  • Do not save your debit card details on websites of merchants. If the site is hacked, you will be at risk of losing your banking information to fraudsters. 

FAQs

How does Debit Card Work?

Debit cards are linked with a particular bank account belonging to a customer. In some cases, a single debit card can be linked to multiple bank accounts. When a debit card is swiped for any transaction, the money gets directly deducted from the customer's bank account and is immediately transferred to the merchant. Unlike credit cards, debit cards do not require bill payments on a later date as the money is paid on the spot. 

How can I activate my debit card?

Here are the steps to activate your debit card:
Step 1: Visit your bank's website and choose the net banking option
Step 2: Log in using username and password.
Step 3: Choose the 'ATM card services' option.
Step 4: You will be redirected to a new page and then click on 'New ATM Card Activation'.
Step 5: Select an account for which you have applied for a new ATM on the new page. Enter the 16 digit ATM card number in the given space. 
Step 6: Click on the 'Activate' option. Click on 'Confirm' option after verifying all the details.
Step 7: You will receive a password on your registered mobile number. Enter it and click on 'confirm' option.
Step 8: You will see a message on the screen that 'ATM card has been activated successfully.

Is an ATM card a debit card?

A debit card looks just like a regular ATM card, and you can use it at ATMs. The difference is that a debit card has a MasterCard or Visa logo on it. Both can be used to make purchases without carrying cash.

How to use Debit Card Safely?

Here are a few tips for using your Debit Card safely:

  • Make online payments through secure platforms.
  • Don't share your pin with anybody.
  • Remember your pin by heart and don't write it anywhere.
  • Register for emails or SMS alerts to stay updated about your transactions.
  • Do not save your debit card details on websites of merchants.
  • Keep track of your money in the account.
  • Keep your card protected. 

What are the benefits of a debit card?

  • A debit card is the best alternative to cash and can be carried easily. It is a safe option when travelling. 
  • Debit cards can be used to withdraw cash from an ATM anytime and anywhere.
  • Debit card offers greater security, and hence, there is less chance of fraud and theft.
  • Debit cards come with exciting features like bonus points, free insurance coverage and cashback. 

What is Debit Card Pin?

A debit card PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a four-digit numerical code, provided as a security feature while performing any transaction. When you open a savings or a current account, the bank provides a debit card along with the PIN number so that you can carry out transactions. Customers have the option of changing the PIN number to their choice if they have forgotten or lost their current PINs. Please note that you should not share your PIN with any other person.

Can I use my debit card as a credit?

You cannot use your debit card the same way you would use a credit card. When you are making a purchase via a debit card, the amount gets instantly deducted from your bank account. In the case of credit cards, it allows the cardholder to purchase goods and services on credit and pay it back over time.

In India, what are the two types of debit cards generally issued to users?

Visa and MasterCard debit cards are generally issued to users. 


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