Debit cards are a way to pay for things. You get a debit card from your bank or credit union when you open a checking account. Sometimes a debit card is free to use. Sometimes you will pay a fee to use the card.
Debit cards look like credit cards. But they do not work the same way. Credit cards use money that you borrow. Debit cards use money that is already in your checking account.
A “PIN” is a security code that belongs to you. PIN stands for personal identification number. A bank or credit union gives you a PIN when you get a debit card. You can change your PIN to a number you will remember.
When you use your debit card, you need to enter your PIN on a keypad. This is one way the bank tries to stop dishonest people from using your debit card to get your money.
Never share your PIN with anyone. Remember it. Do not keep it in your wallet or on your card.Read more
When you open a checking account at a bank or credit union, you usually get a debit card.
A debit card lets you spend money from your checking account without writing a check.
When you pay with a debit card, the money comes out of your checking account immediately. There is no bill to pay later.
Your bank or credit union gives you a “statement” every month. Your statement shows:
Your statement can help you track your spending and create a budget.
When you buy something with a credit card, you are borrowing money from the credit card company. The credit card company will send you a bill every month for the money you borrowed to buy things.
When you use a debit card, you are using money in your checking account to buy things.
For example, with debit cards:
With credit cards:
Your debit card will work online. But debit cards are not a good way to pay when you shop online.
Credit cards are safer to use when you buy things online:
You might not have enough money in your checking account. That means your debit card will be “declined.” You will not be able to buy things.
Some banks and credit unions might let you sign up for “overdraft protection.” That means you can use your debit card even when you do not have enough money to pay for the things you are buying. But you might have to pay a fee to the bank. Some banks might charge this fee for every purchase until you put enough money in your account to pay for the things you are buying.
Debit cards are a way to pay for things. They use money from your checking account at the bank. They can be convenient. But to avoid spending more money than you have, keep track of how much you spend.
A bank or credit union usually gives you a debit card when you open a checking account.
Compare the services and fees at a few banks and credit unions. Go to the website or visit in person. Find out what the fee is if you:
Compare the answers. Find the bank or credit union that meets your needs.
To keep track of your money: