In very simple terms, a debit card can be described as a plastic card issued by certain banks to their customers. This card serves as a sort of electronic cheque book for the customer.
This is because the debit card works on the premise that it is linked to a bank account. This account can be a savings account or a current account.
The point is that debit card transactions can only take place if the customer has enough money in the said account to cover the cost of the transaction in question.
A similar situation to that with prepaid cards, whereby they are used effectively as a debit card but rather than drawing on an account for the money, a prepaid card is preloaded with the money you want to allocate to spend.
Among other features, the debit card allows the owner to purchase goods and services at stores that have automated debit machines or credit card machines.
These cards widely used in many countries of the world and are growing in popularity in the UK. According to reliable sources, there are 71.6 million users of debit cards in the United Kingdom. This is an impressive figure and is clearly an indication of the popularity of debit cards in the UK.
Some of the most popular companies for debit card users in the United Kingdom are Maestro, Visa and Solo.
As some people tend to mistake the debit card for the credit card, what is a debit card then? It’s perhaps easiest to consider the differences between the credit card and the debit card.
For a start, the credit card can be used to make purchases even when the user has no money in his or her account. On the other hand, the debit card can only be used if the user has enough money in the account to cover the purchase.
In effect, the credit card actually offers the customer a credit line.
The debit card, in contrast, simply functions like a cheque. The account is debited immediately after the purchase is made and the transaction will not be completed if there is no money in the account to cover the purchase.
Finally, it has to be pointed out that using a debit card for online shopping has become very popular among people who were previously using credit cards. The reason is that the debit card can be used to pay for online transactions and is very convenient for most people.
There is also the important fact that people who use debit cards are not likely to run up a lot of debt like those who use credit cards.
It may not be possible for the debit card to replace the credit card completely. The more convenient option for most people, if viable, would be to use both the credit card and the debit card simultaneously. This is because each one has its strong points and each one can be used conveniently to pay for transactions online and offline.