While debit cards and ATM cards are often considered one and the same, there are several differences between these banking tools.
Most people use ATMs and EFTPOS facilities to access funds or pay for purchases on a daily basis, but not everyone thinks about how the card they are using could affect their options.
An ATM card or EFTPOS card is designed with simple but convenient access in mind. With one of these cards people can withdraw money and pay for things, but there is not much else to them.
The few bank accounts that do not offer a MasterCard or Visa debit card will offer an ATM card instead, making it the most basic card option. In fact, before more accessible options became available, these cards were the only other everyday option outside of credit.
These days debit cards are a completely different thing, thanks to more competition between banks and advances from both MasterCard and Visa.
With a standard card from either processor, cardholders are able to do any or all of the following:
- Withdraw money from ATMs
- Pay for purchases via EFTPOS
- Pay for purchases online or over the phone
- Verify purchases via PIN or signature; and
- Access overdraft facilities
There is also more chance of these debit cards being accepted by merchants overseas and zero liability policies to help keep money protected.
Both MasterCard and Visa have also recently launched new in-store payment options that allow people to use their card without swiping it through a machine.
These contactless payment options simply require people to touch their card to a payment terminal and wait for it to be processed and for smaller purchases there is no need to enter a PIN or sign for the transaction.
While ATM cards still offer the basics when it comes to money access, debit cards issued for most everyday accounts provide even more options that add to the convenience of using a card.