You can use your ATM/debit card domestically or internationally, depending upon the card feature. It can be used for online money transfers, for making purchases, and even for withdrawing cash. Note that the cash withdrawal and purchase limits on debit/ATM cards may vary from one card to another. In most cases, you do not need to apply for an ATM/debit card separately, as it is issued along with a bank account, however, if you wish to upgrade your card, you may contact the respective card issuer.
5 Best Debit Cards in India in December 2023
|ATM/Debit Cards||Daily ATM Limit||Daily Shopping Limit||Best Feature|
|HDFC Platinum Debit Card||Rs. 2 Lakh||Rs. 5 Lakh||1 cashback point on every Rs. 200|
|SBI Platinum Debit Card||Rs. 1 Lakh||Rs. 2 Lakh||2 reward points per Rs. 200|
|HDFC Millennia Debit Card||Rs. 50,000||Rs. 3.5 Lakh||2.5% cashback points on all online spends|
|ICICI Coral Debit Card||Rs. 1 Lakh||Rs. 5 Lakh||2 reward points on every Rs. 200|
|Axis Bank Burgundy Debit Card||Rs. 3 Lakh||Rs. 6 Lakh||2 reward points on every Rs. 200|
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Top Debit Card Issuers in India
Difference between Debit Cards and Credit Cards
|Debit Card||Credit Card|
|When you use your debit card, funds are deducted from your savings/current account||When you use your credit card, you borrow funds from your card issuer|
|You can spend only up to the balance available in your linked bank account||You can use your card as per your credit limit|
|Debit cards are usually offered along your salary/current/savings account||You can apply for a credit card with any issuer even without holding a bank account with the issuer|
|Offers minor rewards and cashback benefits||Extensive rewards and cashback benefits in comparison to a debit card|
|EMI facility is limited, as per the vendor-bank agreement||Credit Cards offer EMI facility on transactions above Rs. 2,500, in general|
|Does not impact credit score||Impacts credit score directly, thus can help in improving credit score|
|ATM/Debit card offer higher cash withdrawal limits||Credit cards offer additional benefit such as lounge access, lost card liability, etc|
You should apply for a debit card if you need a card to access funds in your account, without anticipation of additional benefits such as rewards, cashback, lounge access, etc. However, if you want to earn rewards and cashback across all your transactions, and need a source of immediate funds, then having a credit card is a better choice.
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Features & Benefits of a Debit/ATM Card
Below listed are some features and benefits of a debit card/ATM:
- A debit/ATM card is a safe and secure option and is a good alternative for cash because it reduces the risk of fraud, theft, and misuse.
- Debit/ATM cards are easy to carry, can be handled easily, and can be conveniently utilized while traveling in comparison to cheque books, or cash.
- With a huge number of ATM machines available all around, ATM/Debit cards offer both the ease of instant cash and the provision of merchant transactions at Point of Sale (PoS) terminals.
- Debit cards also help in keeping a track of your spending. Regular email and SMS alerts with the details of transactions made through debit card helps in maintaining a record of your expenditures.
- Using debit cards ensures that you spend responsibly because the permissible limit of spending depends upon the money in your account. Recorded transactions make the task of maintaining budget and money management much easier.
- Using debit cards for purchase is also a rewarding experience because of its features like cashback offers, bonus points, free insurance coverage along with a range of redeeming options for the points accumulated.
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Debit Card Fee & Charges
ATM/Debit card fees & charges may vary from one card to another, and also from one bank to another. Below listed are common fees and charges associated with debit cards in India:
- Annual Maintenance Fee: This is a yearly fee charged for the usage of debit cards. It usually ranges from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500 and varies according to the policies of different banks. However, in cases where debit cards are issued along salary accounts, annual maintenance charges are generally, Nil.
- Card Replacement Fee: This fee is charged for replacing your ATM/debit card with a new one. Few banks like HDFC charge no fee in case of physical damage but charge a fee of Rs. 200 for the lost card. Other banks like SBI charge somewhere between Rs. 100-300 for their various cards in case of both physical damage and card loss.
- Duplicate PIN or regeneration of PIN Fee: In case you forget your debit/ATM card PIN, a duplicate PIN can be sent to your address by charging a nominal fee of Rs. 50- Rs. 100.
- Cash Withdrawal Charges: ATM/Debit cards usually allow a high frequency of cash withdrawals, however, it may be limited in some cases. Various banks have different policies for levying charges based on the number of transactions. Transactions made on the same bank’s ATM are usually free, however, a certain limit per month is defined for free transactions from other banks’ ATMs. A charge ranging from Rs.10- Rs. 30 per transaction is levied in such cases.
- International Transaction Charges: Charges for cross currency markup, debit card balance check, and cash withdrawal using your debit card in foreign countries are levied for every transaction. These charges may be percentage based or a flat transaction fee.
- POS Fee: No extra fee is charged for making purchases through your debit card. However, for fuel-based transactions, an extra surcharge at the rate of 1% is levied, in general.
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How Does a Debit Card Work?
As mentioned above, an ATM/debit card works along with your savings or current account. Thus, with every swipe or withdrawal using your debit card, the money is directly deducted from your bank account. Here is how to use a debit/ATM card.
At ATMs: You can use your Debit/ATM card by following the steps mentioned below:
Step 1: Swipe/Insert your Debit/ATM card into the ATM machine.
Step 2: Follow the below instructions as displayed on the screen:
- Choose your preferred language
- Choose the type of your account- Savings/Current
- Select the kind of service you wish to proceed with like ‘Cash withdrawal’, ‘Statement’ or ‘Balance Enquiry’
- Enter your 4-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number)
- In case of cash withdrawal, enter the amount you wish to withdraw and then click on ‘Proceed’
- Complete the entire procedure and after you are done with the transaction, make sure to collect your cash and card
At POS (Point of Sales): To use your debit card at the POS, follow these steps:
Step 1: Tap (for contactless transactions), swipe or insert your debit card into the card reader machine.
Step 2: Now the POS operator will enter transaction details which include the transaction amount.
Step 3: You will then be required to enter your four-digit debit card PIN (Personal Identification Number)
Step 4: After entering the PIN, click on ‘Enter’ and wait for the payment slip to be generated.
What are Contactless Debit Cards?
Contactless debit cards are ‘Tap & Pay’ Cards, that allow you to make a payment without swiping the card. To make a payment, you can wave the card over the payment machine, and the transaction is automatically processed. Contactless Debit Cards are safe and secure since the chances of card duplication or storing card details are reduced.
Top Banks in India such as SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC, and PNB, offer contactless debit cards. Note that the transaction limit for contactless transactions with debit cards is only Rs. 5,000. If the transaction value exceeds this limit, you will be required to enter your debit card PIN.
Online: You can also use your debit card, online, by following the steps given below:
Step 1: At an authentic online portal, enter the required details such as your unique 16-digit debit card number, date of expiry, name of cardholder, and CVV (Card Verification Value) number.
Step 2: If the details are valid, you will be directed to another page. Here, you will be required to enter the OTP received on your registered mobile number via SMS. Once approved, the transaction will be completed. Some banks also provide you the option to make payment via the bank’s portal, here, you will be required to enter your debit card PIN.
Debit Card Tokenization
As per the new RBI guidelines, with effect from October 1, 2022, merchants, payment gateways and e-commerce platforms will no longer be able to save your card information. Card information, saved on these platforms will be replaced with ‘tokens’, that could be used for making payments. Though not compulsory, if you don’t opt for tokenization, you will be required to enter your card details every time you want to make a transaction. To know more, click here.
How to Get a Debit Card?
Generally, debit/ATM cards are issued along with your savings, current or salary account. However, if you wish to get another debit card as per your spending patterns or want to upgrade your card, you can raise a request for the same with your bank either online or offline.
Offline: If you wish to get a debit card offline, you need to visit the bank in person, preferably the branch where you hold your bank account.
Online: To get a debit card online, you need to visit the concerned bank’s website, and navigate to the section ‘Debit Cards’. Apart from this, you can also use your bank’s mobile banking app or the net banking portal. It may take around 2-3 days for the approval and around 7 working days for the delivery of the debit card.
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Pros and Cons of a Debit Card
|Safer to carry in comparison to cash||Fewer rewards/cashback/lounge access/ insurance benefits in comparison to credit cards|
|Saves you from debt-trap||Does not give additional purchasing power over and above the funds in your account|
|Easy to avail||Limited milestone/welcome/renewal benefit|
|Limited fee & charges||Does not help in building credit score|
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Do’s & Don'ts of a Debit Card
- Immediately report the loss of your card to the issuer, in case you lose your debit card, to prevent fraud.
- Keep a track of your emails/SMS, so that any fraudulent transaction is discovered easily.
- Authenticate each transaction by entering PIN/OTP or giving signatures and completing the entire transaction.
- Set up SMS alerts from your bank, listing details of each of the transactions made on any of the purchases. This will help you track your debit card spends.
- Check your account statements at regular intervals for tracking how much and where you have been spending.
- Don’t disclose your ATM/debit card PIN over social media, phone, or email. It is advisable to memorize your PIN, instead of writing it down at random places.
- Don’t use unsafe online platforms, for online shopping or other transactions. Always do it through a portal that has secure online payment symbols, and on a website that has the authentic 2-step verification process. This is necessary to prevent the leak of debit card credentials to unreliable sources.
- Don’t cause any physical damage to your Debit card. The magnetic stripe or the chip in your debit card can be destroyed by being exposed to sharp objects or magnetic materials.
Quick Links to Manage Your Debit/ATM Card
|How to Generate ATM PIN?||How to Use ATM/Debit Card|
|How to Block/Unblock an ATM/Debit Card?||Online Money Transfer using a Debit Card|
|Check Debit Card Customer Care Number||Know all about EMI on Debit Cards|
Debit cards come along with great benefits, but credit cards can offer you more!
Debit Card FAQs
What are the benefits offered on a debit card?
A debit card offers benefits such as high cash withdrawal limit, high daily shopping limits, free ATM withdrawals, and easy access to funds in your bank account. Apart from these, many debit cards also offer benefits across multiple categories such as cashback, lifestyle, travel, shopping, and insurance among others. Amongst these, you can find a card that best fits your requirements, and upgrade or apply for a card accordingly.
What is a debit card?
A debit card is a plastic card that is issued to you when you open savings, current, or salary account in any bank. The card offers access to funds in your account that can be used to withdraw money from an ATM, or to make online or offline purchases/transactions. A debit card is more or less a combination of an ATM card and credit card, as you not only withdraw money but also earn rewards/cashback every time you make a direct payment with your card.
What to do if a debit card is lost or stolen?
In case a debit card/ATM Card is lost or stolen, you must report the same to the bank/ issuer immediately. You can contact the bank via their mobile application, NetBanking, or via the customer care number. You must ensure that you get your card blocked immediately. Various banks also offer the SMS or Missed call service for blocking a debit card.
What is a virtual debit card?
Virtual debit cards are e-cards or Electronic debit cards, created specifically for e-commerce or retail transactions, in most cases. However, the limit on these cards is specified and limited, in comparison to physical debit cards. Also, virtual debit cards cannot be used at ATMs.
Which banks offer virtual debit cards?
Several banks offer virtual debit cards, to promote digital payments. Some of the top banks offering these cards include SBI, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bank of Baroda, and Union Bank of India, among others.
What is Debit card Tokenization?
Debit card tokenization is the replacement of card details saved with merchants with a unique code called, ‘token’. As per the new RBI guidelines, effective October 1, 2022, debit card information will not be saved on multiple portals. To complete a transaction you either need to get your card tokenized or enter the complete card details every time you make a transaction. Know More.
How do I get my debit card token?
You can get your debit card tokenization done at the time of making a payment to any preferred merchant app or website. Here, you will be required to enter your debit/ATM card details, such as card number, name of cardholder, expiry date, and CVV. On entering your details, you can select the option “Save card as per RBI guidelines”. To authenticate, you need to enter the OTP received on your registered number, after which the merchant won’t be able to save the card details, and your debit card token will be generated for making payments.
Are Debit and ATM cards the same?
Yes, the sole purpose of an ATM card is to withdraw funds at an ATM, which can be done via a debit card as well. Thus, ATM and debit cards are the same.
How do I apply for a Debit/ATM card online?
You can apply for a debit card online, by visiting the issuer’s website or by using the mobile banking application. Note that, to apply for a new card, you need to open a savings, current or salary account with a bank, so that you get a card along. However, if you wish to upgrade your debit card with your existing bank account, you can contact your bank directly.
What is the difference between a debit card and a credit card?
Both debit cards and credit cards are plastic cards that look the same but function differently. With a debit card, you use the funds you have in your existing bank account, but with a credit card, you borrow funds from your card issuer and pay it back before the due date. You can check a detailed difference between debit cards vs. credit cards here.
Is it better to use a debit or credit card?
Before using any card, you must analyze your needs and financial position. You can use a debit card if you don’t have a credit card, but want to make a purchase that is within the availability of funds in your bank account. However, in case you are in immediate need of funds, you can use your credit card, up to the specified credit limit. Using a credit card for your expenses, will get you more rewards and cashback, and will also help you improve or build your credit score if you make your card payments in a timely manner.
Why is my ATM card not working?
Your ATM card may not be working due to reasons such as insufficient account balance, exceeded daily withdrawal limit, wrong ATM PIN, damaged or hot-listed card, or inoperative bank account.