Debit Cards


What is a Debit Card?  A Debit Card (also known as a Charge Card) is a plastic card that may be used to obtain cash or make purchases.  Unlike a Credit Card, when you use a Debit Card the amount is immediately charged to your current account - as if you had written a check.

With a Debit Card you may withdraw funds from your account using an automated teller machine or ATM (often known as a cash point or "hole in the wall". Stores and online suppliers also accept Debit Cards, treating them the same as cash. A Debit Card transaction pays the seller of goods or services by withdrawing funds already on deposit in the buyer's account, as opposed to a Credit Card transaction in which funds are loaned to the buyer by the card issuer.

There are many different Debit Card available - through banks, and dedicated Charge Card companies and other organisations.  There may be an annual fee charged for possessing a Debit Card .  Some companies may waive the fee for good customers.  You may also be charged a fee for using your card to obtain cash from some cash machines.

How a Debit Card works.  When a purchase is charged to your card, the seller receives payment from the Debit Card company less a percentage of the price - this percentage should not be passed on to customers.  The price is deducted from your account.  Some cards may charge a higher percentage to the sellers than others - although this may not affect the price you pay, it may mean the card is not accepted in as many stores or outlets.

If not used carefully, Debit Cards provide a dangerously easy means of spending more than you can afford.  Do not think of a Debit Card as an unlimited supply of money: it may appear to be this in the short term, but if you continue to use it to spend more than you earn, your account will quickly become overdrawn - incurring additional costs.

Able was I ere I saw Elba

Financial Information Services; Banks; Credit Cards; Prepaid Credit Cards

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