RBI’s report on bank-wise card statistics reveals that, there are approximately 65 million debit cards issued in India by the end of December 2015, which shows that debit cards have grown to be an essential component of today’s cashless payment mechanism. This article talks about the features and benefits of debit cards in India to help understand how they work.

What is a Debit Card?

This is basically a card that offers a convenient access to our bank account and allows us to carry out financial transactions as per our requirement as well as convenience. So with a debit card, we’re almost carrying our bank account with us.

The debit cards in India include Visa debit cards, Visa Electron debit cards, MasterCard debit cards, RuPay debit cards, Maestro debit card. These are issued by the banks who have a tie-up with any of these brands.

Benefits of A Debit Card

  1. Debit Card offers the convenience of cashless transaction.
  2. It can be used for cash withdrawals at ATM and shopping online or at PoS.
  3. It ensures instant payment as well as transfer of funds.
  4. Unlike credit cards, which are a loan in disguise, debit card encourages judicious spending.
  5. It lets you redeem the reward points obtained from certain services like insurance coverage, bonus points, cash back offers that are offered by banks.
  6. Debit cards are safer than carrying cash.
  7. You can pay EMIs on certain online purchases as well.
  8. Keeping a track on the debit card transaction is easy. All you need to do is update the passbook or be watchful of the SMS/email notifications.
  9. Using the ATM, you transfer funds via debit card. Although the amount is limited, it’s a great help especially on bank holidays.
  10. You can pay utility bills, tax, recharge mobile phones and even use it at the filling station.
  11. The maintenance cost is comparatively less.

How Does It Work?

The debits cards are usually linked with customers’ bank accounts; It can be savings, current or NRE bank account.

In some cases more than one account can be linked to single debit card.

When the card is swiped in a machine or used at online payment gateways, the payment amount is debited from account it’s been linked to automatically. And the customers who have activated the SMS alert service, immediately get a notification regarding the payment. They can also get email notification if applicable.

What is Debit Card PIN?

Abbreviated for Personal Identification Number, a debit card PIN is a 4-digit numerical code which serves as a security feature while making transactions using the debit card.

As per the RBI guidelines, use of PIN is mandatory while making purchases in point of sales as a security measure.

The PIN is provided by the bank along with the debit card and it’s the responsibility of the cardholders to protect their PIN in order to prevent the misuse of their debit card. They are requested to follow the debit card best practice to keep away from fraudsters.

The request for PIN change can be made by the customer if they have lost or forgotten the current PIN. For security reasons, it is advisable to change the PIN periodically.

How to Apply for Debit Card?

Certain banks offer an insta-kit after opening the account. It basically contains ATM/debit cards, cheque book, net banking info etc. If your bank doesn’t provide such package, you can apply for the debit card in a separate application form given by the bank. Fill the form properly with a passport size photograph pasted on it ( if applicable) and submit it to the bank. Get adequate information from the bank regarding the delivery of the card, charges, and rules, if any.