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Debit card-A revelation

Today more than 60 million people have debit cards that carry the logos of the two major payment card companies. That number is expected to grow dramatically as debit cards become increasingly popular. Many debit cardholders confuse debit cards with standard ATM cards.

Not all debit cards are equal. Debit cards with the logo of one of the two major payment card companies are ATM cards with clout. They can be used to obtain cash from ATM machines, and also to make purchases anywhere the logos on these cards are accepted -- over 16 million merchants worldwide.

Increasingly, debit cards combine the key elements of ATM cards, credit cards and cheques-- besides giving instant access to cash and worldwide acceptance.Tthe funds come directly out of your checking account and because purchases and ATM withdrawals are listed on your monthly statement, you can track your spending

Debit cards are typically used as substitutes for cash and cheques to pay for everyday items such as  groceries, restaurant meals, and department store purchases. You don't have to carry cash or cheques. And, unless you dip into an overdraft line of credit tied to your checking account, you don't run up interest charges.

What is a Debit Card?

As it is popularly known, it is an ATM card on the move. The Debit Card gives you the freedom to access your Savings or Current Account at merchant locations and ATMs. Whenever you make payments, the amount will be instantly debited to your account. There are around more than 5.3 lakh Visa/PLUS ATMs and equally strong Mastercard/ Cirrus ATMs in over 140 countries worldwide. All your purchases and cash withdrawals will be in the currency of the country you are in, while your account will be debited in rupees. So you needn't carry traveller's cheques or foreign exchange the next time you travel.

How do I know where my card can be used?

Your Debit Card can be used at any merchant location displaying the Visa or Mastercard logo or at any ATMs displaying the Visa/PLUS or Mastercard/Cirrus logo. Besides that, one can always use it at any of the bank ATMs as a normal ATM card.

How does the Debit Card work?

All you need to do is present your card to the merchant who will swipe it through the electronic terminal and enter the amount of your purchase. You only need to sign the transaction slip. Your account will be automatically debited for the amount of your purchase. At merchant locations that have a PIN pad, you may be required to confirm the transaction by entering your PIN.

Where can I use my Debit Card?

Your Debit Card can be used to access your Account from over 5,000 Shops, Department Stores, Petrol Pumps and Restaurants and over 235 ATMs in India as for HDFC Bank  . You can also use it at over 4 million Visa Electron merchant locations and equally strong Mastercard outlets . If Debit Card ever gets lost or stolen, card companies protect you from fraudulent usage the moment you report the loss. After reporting, your liability is limited to a maximum of around Rs. 500/-as for a HDFC Bank International Debit Card.

Is there any charge for this service?

There aren't many Debit cards in India as of now. The HDFC International Debit Card comes at an annual fee of around Rs. 250/-. This charge is   waived off on one additional card taken on your account. There are charges involved on cash withdrawals and balance queries. Normally the cash withdrawal charges are around Rs 55/- and a meager charge of Rs.10/- for balance.

How can I get a Debit card?

If you already have a savings or current account with the debit card issuer, you might just have to file an application form. The card company then couriers the card across to you in around a week’s time. If you don’t have an account, you will have to open an account first and request for the debit card to be issued to your residence.

Are there any transaction limits for the debit card?

Yes. The Debit card does have a daily limit which could be somewhere around Rs. 15,000 at ATMs, and Rs. 10,000 at merchant locations. This again is subject to the balance available in your account.

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