Debit Cards

Debit cards are available with almost every checking account these days. Many people use their debit cards more often than they write checks because of the convenience. From an outward appearance debit cards look almost exactly like credit cards, and even how they are used is very similar. Most transactions just require a simple swipe, but may require a PIN to process the transaction.

Debit cards provide an easy way to make purchases, both in stores and online. In many cases they can also double as a bank card and an ATM card.

Even though debit cards appear just like credit cards, they are handled very differently. The generally process through the same card network, but instead of adding to the outstanding balance of a credit card, funds are immediately processed against a checking account. Prepaid debit cards are very similar but not backed by a checking account, they have their own balance. Debit cards are generally handled and processed independently in each country, so most cards from one country cannot be used in another country.

Debit cards can be easier for some people to mange that credit cards, because money comes straight out of a checking account. There can still be issues with fees and overdrafts, but this can be much easier to manage spending than with a credit card. But just like with credit cards, consumers will generally spend more with a debit card than with cash because it is less painful than actually spending cash.