With the existence of ATM cards, credit cards and debit, one may be curious to know what is a debit card and how it differs from the others.

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card is a card that is linked to your checking account, which can be used anywhere a credit card is accepted. This card enables you access your account at different merchants throughout the town. This card can also be used at an ATM. When you use a debit card, the money is taken directly out of your checking out. These cards are linked with one of the major credit card companies and will usually have a Visa or MasterCard logo on them. Users are given a PIN to enable them use the card at the store or ATMs.

How a Debit Card Works

Once you use your card, the merchant places a hold on your account for the amount of money of your transaction. Your bank is likely to show you the pending transactions on your account. These holds are put in by the merchants. Thereafter, the merchants complete the transaction by submitting their transactions and then have the money taken from your account, and is displayed in your cleared transactions. On the other hand, some merchants may take longer to file the transactions, and you may have a transaction listed as pending for a few days.

If you make use of your debit card at a hotel or for a car rental, the company may put a larger hold on the account to cover extra costs that you may accrue. It is important to have a knowledge of this, so that you do not find yourself in a situation where your card may be declined because of the hold. Ensure you have additional money in your account if you areusing yourcard for a hotel or a car rental.

How Much is a Debit Card?

If you use a debit card at an ATM, you may be responsible for ATM fees. This implies that your bank may have fees linked with your card, and it is very important that you carefully review the rules around using the debit card. There also may be a monthly service fee linked with having a card. Some banks may even limit the number of debit transactions you have for free each month. Be it as it may, since the use of debit cards have become more common, these fees and restrictions have become less common. You can also consider switching account types of banks if there are fees associated to your card, mostly if you are restricted to a low number of card transactions each month.

What to Guard Against With a Debit Card

One precaution you should take seriously with your card, is that you need to ensure that your card or the information on it is not stolen. If by any means, your card is physically stolen, you need to call the bank immediately and cancel the card. Also criminals may hack a website and steal the card information and then use it to make purchases online. Your bank can also send you a new card at some point if there was a data breach at a merchant. If you notice any unauthorized transactions in your account, you must call the bank immediately to find out what happened.

More Precaution

A fraudster can get your card information through card skimming. This means the person can either swipe your card through the machine themselves (this happens at restaurants or other places where your card is being taken away from you momentarily) or they can attach a skimmer to a machine where your card is being used (like an ATM, vending machine, or RedBox). The skimmers are very small and blend in well, which means they can be difficult to spot. Be it as it may, if one of these looks off to you, especially where your card is being swiped, you should likely use a different ATM or vending machine. It is very essential to check your account regularly and watch out for unauthorized transactions, because if you spot the problem early enough, the easier it will be to resolve.

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