A debit card, also known as a bank card or check card, is a plastic card that acts as an alternative payment method to cash when making purchases. The money used is taken out of your savings account making it easy to purchase items without having to use cash. Because of the convenience and speed debit cards provide they are more and more readily available at Australian banks.
When you are given a debit card you will be assigned a specific carrier by your bank such as Visa or Mastercard. You will create a personal PIN number that you will use every time you purchase an item or go to the ATM with that card. St. George Bank offers the Visa Debit Card which provides you with the security of Visa and the convenience of using your own money. This prevents any additional fees and having to pay back a given institution. Commonwealth Bank on the other hand offers the Mastercard and Visa Debit Card. Though in the past you would have had to press the “credit” option when making purchases, as of 4 June 2008 you can now use just your PIN number as an alternative to your signature. This is simply an additional option and if you don’t want to take the new option you can simply go on as you used to by following the instructions and signing your name.
The main focus with the debit card is convenience! Debit cards are also used at ATM machines to get money out of your savings or cheque account. Many stores also allow you to get “cash back” or “cash out” which means you can ask for a specific amount and it is simply added to your bill. In this case the teller becomes your personal ATM! Also, with the debit card, online purchases become a breeze! Just be sure not to share your PIN number or account information with anyone in order to protect your identity and purchases. If you think your card has been used without your authorization be sure to contact your bank immediately. Always review bank statements to keep track of purchases and account activity.
As the world continues to move at a light speed, the debit card will help you adapt with confidence when purchasing both in person and on the internet. As physical checks become something of the past, it will be important to have a bank you trust and a debit card you can depend on.