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What is a debit card?

November 12, 2021

Imagine reaching the cash register and not having to dig for change or write a check – paying with a debit card makes that possible. A debit card is a payment card that can be used to make purchases by drawing money directly from your checking account.

While a debit card doesn't get as much attention as a credit card, it’s a very useful tool. You can use a debit card to make purchases anywhere payment cards are accepted. You can also use it to get cash and make other transactions at ATMs. (In addition, many merchants offer “cash back” options when making a debit purchase.) Unlike a credit card, you’re not borrowing money as funds come directly from your checking account. That means there’s no credit application to complete and no interest charges on your purchases.

Most debit cards are issued for free when you open a checking account. You can also purchase “pre-paid” debit cards that can be used until the card value has been spent. Debit cards are typically issued by Visa® or Mastercard® and can be used anywhere those cards are accepted. You can also add your debit card to most mobile payment platforms like Apply Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay (learn more about mobile wallets), as well as money transfer apps like Venmo and Cash App.

In a nutshell, using a debit card is

  • Fast and easy
  • Safer than carrying large amounts of cash
  • More convenient (and cheaper) than checks
  • Useful for accessing funds or making transactions at ATMs
  • Tied to your checking account, so it’s easy to monitor transactions and purchases in your digital banking app

If you have questions about debit cards, or would like to get one of your own, check with your financial institution or open a checking account with Citizens State Bank.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Citizens State Bank and its affiliates, and Citizens State Bank is not responsible for and does not verify the accuracy of any information contained in this article or items hyperlinked within. This is for informational purposes and is no way intended to provide legal advice.