What is Debit Card

Debit cards and credit cards have become an integral way of life lives today to make payments without the hassle of cash. In today’s world, it seems almost impossible to survive without these payment methods. We all use debit or credit cards for various reasons, from swiping them at point-of-sales machines to buying groceries to luxury items and paying utility bills, both forms of plastic money have countless end uses. So, therefore, it comes as no surprise when we hear that debit cards are one of the most popular ways to transact today.

However, given the multiple modes of payment today, consumers are often confused as to what debit cards mean. So let’s start by understanding what a debit card means.

About Debit Card?

A debit card is also referred to as plastic currency or plastic money. When you don’t have the cash you can use it to buy things. Generally, banks issue debit cards to savings account holders and they are linked to your account. All transactions done through your debit card are mentioned in your bank account statement. Statements help you keep track of your expenses and transactions using the card.

Debit cards can be issued in collaboration with companies such as RuPay, Mastercard, and Visa. The card has a 16-digit number known as a debit card number. The digits are divided into two parts. Digits 0-6 identify the issuing company, whether the card is MasterCard, RuPay, or Visa. Digits 7-16 identify the bank that issued the card, account type, etc. The card also has an expiry date on the front and a 3-digit CVV number on the back.

How Do Debit Cards work?

When you use your debit card offline, you usually pay using a card machine. Payment using a debit card is very fast and convenient. Once the merchant inputs the amount, all you have to do is input your unique PIN to complete the transaction and you will receive a notification of your completed payment. Your bank processes the request sent by the merchant using the debit card and provides the asked amount.

When you use your debit card online, you need to enter the 16-digit debit card number, expiration date, and three-digit CVV number (found on the back of the debit card) to make a purchase. Once the details are entered, an OTP (One Time Password) is triggered on your registered mobile number which needs to be entered on the merchant site to complete the transaction.

Now that you know the meaning of a debit card, its features, and how it works, you can reap its immense benefits by using it safely and securely. In today’s economic scenario with a bright future for digital payments, it is imperative that consumers understand plastic money like debit and credit cards wisely and use them optimally to get maximum benefits.

Types of Debit Cards

Visa Debit card:

Enjoy the comfort of paying straight from your account with all the security that Visa offers. It works like cash, only better. It is issued by your bank or other financial institution and one can access the funds directly from your bank account. Accepted worldwide, Visa debit cards offer fast, secure, and convenient access to your money in person, online, abroad, and over the phone. The significance of a Visa in global financial markets is immense. There are more than 1.46 billion Visa debit and credit cards in circulation worldwide, generating more than $4.3 trillion in sales accepted in nearly 200 countries.

Mastercard Debit Card:

Debit MasterCard is a brand of debit cards offered by MasterCard Company. They use the same systems as standard MasterCard credit cards but instead rely on the funds in the customer’s bank account to provide the customer with a line of credit. MasterCard debit cards have gained immense popularity all over the world since they came into existence. Customers swear by the fast service, impeccable customer care, and exciting benefits and rewards it provides.

Contactless Debit Cards:

Contactless cards work a lot like mobile wallets. Transactions are completed by simply holding or tapping the card on a contactless-enabled card reader. Using this card, the customer can make payment by simply tapping the card or waving the card near the PoS terminal. These cards make electronic payments more secure by using Near Field Technology (NFC). It’s 10 times faster than swiping, entering, or using cash. Plus, it keeps your information safe and your hands away from the card reader.

RuPay Debit Card:

RuPay is an Indian multinational financial services and payment service system, designed and established by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It was created to fulfill the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) vision of establishing a domestic, open, and multilateral payment system. RuPay facilitates electronic payments across all Indian banks and financial institutions. RuPay card has emerged as a strong contender to VISA and MasterCard in India.

Difference between Debit Cards, Credit Cards, and ATM cards

Debit cards are used for online payments and cash withdrawals at ATMs.

The use of ATM cards is limited to transactions at ATMs. Both debit cards and ATMs require a PIN to transact.

On the other hand, credit cards also offer an ATM withdrawal facility, but it is a type of loan that is pre-defined up to a certain limit based on your creditworthiness. Moreover, it also gives you the freedom to buy any product on credit and pay the amount later.

Benefits of using a Debit Card

Convenient to Use 

Debit cards are extremely easy to use. As the payment is made straight from your bank account, a place where the money already exists, it can be done immediately. It’s much quicker than waiting for a credit transaction to go through or stressing about having sufficient cash in the account to cover your expenditures.

Works as an Emergency Fund 

Debit cards have the capability to provide you with cash. They double as ATM cards and allow you to withdraw money from ATMs. So, act as an emergency fund for yourself. In addition to using ATMs, most stores offer cash-back options at the checkout. You can make payments conveniently and reasonably with your debit card.


Debit cards are protected by a four-digit PIN number or PIN (personal identification number) that you set yourself. This PIN is required when making almost any purchase with your debit card. It gives you great protection against theft. You also get a notification whenever a transaction takes place, double-checking the transaction.

Easy to Obtain 

The only and most important thing you need to have a debit card is a bank account. Anyone can open a bank account simply by paying a minimum deposit. So, you can use a debit card and the only prerequisite is a bank account that is linked to your card. Worldwide acceptance. Use your debit card globally to withdraw cash and make payments at merchant outlets and POS machines.

What if my debit card is stolen?

When using a debit card, there are certain ways in which you can ensure the safety of your card. Security becomes paramount as all debit card transactions can be done only when you know the PIN.

As a debit cardholder, you should never share your PIN with a stranger. You must report the loss of the card to your bank immediately; Otherwise, your card could be used for illegal purchases, and you could lose money or become a victim of fraud.

How to get a Debit Card?

Usually, when you open a savings account, you are automatically given a debit card. If not, you can request a debit card. After receiving it, you have to activate the card and set the PIN. Whenever you use a debit card for a transaction or withdrawal, you will be asked to provide a PIN.

Leading Banks that offer Debit Cards in India

State Bank of India Debit Cards:

State Bank of India has designed multiple debit cards to facilitate its customers. By using SBI Debit Card, one can enjoy many benefits like exciting reward points and cashback to spend on shopping, dining, fuel, travel booking, or online spending.

HDFC Bank Debit Card 

Using this card, users enjoy hassle-free cashless shopping with secure online transactions. It is possible with Visa and MasterCard Secure Code platforms. HDFC offers eleven debit card options to Indian customers.

ICICI Bank Debit Cards

Carry your bank account conveniently in your wallet with ICICI Bank Debit Card. Choose from our range of debit cards to experience the benefits of fast and easy payments. Make purchases online or offline, withdraw cash from ATMs, pay your bills and receive rewards in the procedure. ICICI Bank provides 31 types of debit cards which are classified under Premium, Business, Personal, Unifier, and Expressions.

Axis Bank Debit Cards

Axis Bank offers a variety of debit cards that cater to the specific needs of its diverse customer base. The bank also offers a rewards program for its debit cardholders that allows customers to earn reward points with every purchase. Axis Bank also offers debit cards for women and youth.

Punjab National Debit Cards

PNB has collaborated with RuPay and MasterCard to design the debit card. PNB’s card is gaining acceptance worldwide. Customers can choose from 5 different types of debit cards with add-on cards if required.

Bank of Baroda Debit Card

Bank of Baroda has designed six different types of personal debit cards in collaboration with Visa, MasterCard, and RuPay to suit the lifestyle needs of customers.

HSBC Debit Card

HSBC India Debit Card can now be used for online purchases on websites where Visa cards are accepted. Whether it’s travel or movie tickets, hotel reservations, shopping for luxury or just everyday items, paying utility bills, or investments – you can do it safely from the comfort of your home. Your online transactions are protected by 3-D Secure (3DS) technology, an extra layer of security for online debit card transactions.

IndusInd Debit Card

IndusInd Bank has rolled out a mix of international and platinum debit cards on the Verified by Visa platform while adding exciting rewards programs for customers. The bank offers 4 different types of debit cards depending on the customer’s account.

CitiBank Debit Cards

Experience the best of the world with an exclusive range of Citibank Debit Cards. Designed with your needs in mind, each of these cards offers maximum benefits and unmatched privileges at every spend. So, go ahead and explore the possibilities with the wide range of Citibank Debit Cards.

Standard Chartered Debit Cards

A range of attractive rewards and offers with easy access to your cash worldwide with Standard Chartered Debit Cards. You can enjoy 24×7 access to your funds.

Kotak Bank Debit Cards:

Kotak Bank is known for offering need-based debit cards to their customers. Not only do they eliminate the need to carry hard cash or checks to manage funds or purchases, but they also come with many wonderful benefits. 

DCB Bank Debit Cards:

The DCB bank debit cards entered the market with a tagline- ‘Convenience meets simplicity.’ One of the easy-to-apply and use debit cards in India. The debit card from DCB Bank works its wonders across all Visa-enabled ATM and POS outlets, in India and across the globe.


Now that you know the meaning of a debit card, its features, and how it works, you can reap its immense benefits by using it safely and securely. In today’s economic scenario with a bright future for digital payments, it is imperative that consumers understand plastic money like debit and credit cards wisely and use them optimally to get maximum benefits.


1. Can we link multiple accounts with a single debit card?

Answer: Yes, some banks offer customers the option to link multiple bank accounts with a single debit card.

2. Can banks block debit cards if customers enter the incorrect PIN at the time of cash withdrawal?

Answer: Yes, any bank can block a customer’s debit card after three unsuccessful attempts at an ATM as a protective step.

3. Is an overdraft facility available with a debit card?

Answer: The overdraft facility is available with savings accounts linked to debit cards but is not applicable to specific debit cards.

4. What are the various costs associated with debit cards?

Answer: Some banks may charge issuance fees, ATM withdrawal charges, and annual fees for using debit cards.

5. In India, which two types of debit cards are generally issued to users?

Answer: Indian banks offer personal and non-personal types to debit card users. Personalized debit cards include the user’s name and photograph. Non-personalized cards will have the bank logo, card details, and payment platform logo without user-related information.