ATM vs. debit cards: The difference

Learn the differences between ATM cards, debit cards, and credit cards.

ATM cards
The front of an ATM cardAn ATM card is a PIN-based card. That means that in addition to using it at ATMs, you may also be able to use it to make purchases (by entering your Personal Identification Number) if the merchant is using one of the same electronic ATM networks that’s listed on the back of your card.

Debit card
A debit cardA debit card looks just like a regular ATM card, and you can use it at ATMs. The difference is that a debit card has a Visa® or Mastercard® logo on its face. That means you can use a debit card wherever Visa® or Mastercard® debit cards are accepted, for example, department stores, restaurants, or online.

Credit card
A credit card with a red circle and a slash through itA debit card is not a credit card. When you use a debit card, the money is deducted from your checking account. With a credit card, you’re borrowing money to be repaid later.

ATM and debit cards allow you to use ATMs, a safe and convenient way to manage your money. There are millions of ATMs worldwide and you can use many ATMs 24 hours a day, 7 days week. ATM and debit cards are also a convenient way to make purchases without carrying cash that help you keep better track of the money you spend.

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