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ATM Cards & Debit Cards - Know The Difference

As we move into the future, technology is helping re-shape the way we transact. In earlier times, when there were no instruments such as debit cards, credit cards, or ATM cards, people would have to carry hard cash with them, wherever they go, to make payments. Not only was this cumbersome but also unsafe as carrying cash can always put us at the risk of being robbed. However, times have changed drastically and now, we live in the age of cashless convenience. Banks have introduced payment instruments such as debit cards and ATM cards which have completely revolutionized the way people access their funds. No longer does one have to visit the bank personally to withdraw cash. A debit card / ATM card can help you do much more than just withdraw cash. Making payments, shopping for groceries, booking tickets, etc., are just some of the many functions we can carry out with debit card. However, when it comes to debit cards and ATM cards, not many people are aware of the difference between these two. Read on to find out how to differentiate between an ATM card and a Debit card.

What Is An ATM Card?

An ATM card is simply a plastic card which is issued by a bank to an account holder, enabling them to withdraw money from ATMs using the ATM card. The card holds the bank account related details of the cardholder, who can withdraw money from an ATM using this card 24x7. In addition to cash withdrawals, the ATM card also allows cardholders to check their account balance by requesting for a mini statement at the ATM. For every ATM transaction done by the cardholder, the bank will send an SMS regarding the transaction to the cardholder’s registered mobile number to notify them about the transaction and also help prevent any unauthorized usage.

What Is A Debit Card?

A debit card is similar to an ATM card, except that it allows users to do much more than just withdraw cash and check account statements. A debit card too is made of plastic and is issued by a bank where the individual holds an account. The card holds information pertaining to the cardholder’s bank account and enables them to make payments for different kinds of purchases at any time. A debit card allows users to not only make payments online but also via EFTPOS (Electronic Fund Transfer at Point of Sale) with a simple swipe. In addition to withdrawing money, users can also carry out other functions such as checking their account balance and transfer funds to another bank account of the same bank or a different bank. Cardholders will get timely SMS alerts for any transaction done with their card to allow them to keep track of account activity and also keep an eye for unauthorized transactions.

Key Differences Between ATM and Debit Card

Debit Card ATM Card
Scope of Usage
A debit card allows you to not only withdraw money but also check your account balance, get a mini statement, change your card PIN number, register for mobile banking, make payments online and at POS terminals. An ATM card will allow you to withdraw money, check your balance statement, transfer funds to another account.
Account Deduction
Every time you make a payment with your debit card, the amount will be deducted from the account that is linked to your debit card. When you withdraw money using an ATM card, the money gets deducted from the account that is linked to the ATM card.
Debit cards usually carry a Visa or MasterCard logo. Some cards are now being issued under the RuPay payments system also. ATM cards will mostly carry the Cirrus, Plus or Maestro logo.
Internet Banking
Debit cards provide the facility of internet banking to allow users to make payments online. ATM cards do not offer the facility of internet banking.
Online Shopping / POS Payments
Debit cards can be used for making online payments at e-commerce sites or at merchant establishments which support card payments. ATM cards cannot be used to make payments online or at merchant establishments.

With a widespread network of ATMs in India, having an ATM or debit card means that one will have easy access to cash any time they need. This eliminates the need to carry cash around, hence adding to our safety. While the benefits of a debit card overlaps all the benefits offered by an ATM card, both cards are equally useful in their own right.

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