ATM Debit card is a revolutionary product of modern banking in India that offers convenience at its best. There are many numbers of banks in India, which issue debit cards under various fancy names and brands. Make sure that you are aware about the features vis-à-vis the charges and fees and above all, its genuine usefulness to you.

What is an ATM Debit Card?

  • ATM Debit cards are fondly known as ‘cards on the move’
  • Known as plastic money, ATM Debit cards work like hard cash or cheque. Your card is linked to your savings account.
  • ATM is the short form for Automated Teller Machine but popularly, it is known as Any Time Money.
  • ATM does the work of a teller (cashier) of the bank and ATM card is the license to get the work done from ATM.
  • Functionally, debit card is an ATM card but with additional facility of being used for online and offline cash-less purchases.
  • ATM cards work on ATM machines operated by inter-bank networks. Debit cards can work with any machine with VISA/MASTER logo depending upon your card. VISA and MASTER are world famous payment processing companies.

It may be noted that essentially speaking ATM card and Debit cards are different but commonly understood as one and the same. ATM cards are slowly becoming outdated and hence most of the discussion pertains to debit cards.

How does ATM Debit Card work?

Every holder of the card is provided with a four digit PIN (personal Identification Number). When you insert the card into the machine, the machine recognizes you and asks you to enter your PIN before you can proceed further. Machine will authorize the transactions if the PIN is correctly entered. You can also choose your language English or Hindi. Further steps are very easy.

What are its uses and benefits?

You can carry out following transactions anytime, anywhere at the ATM. In addition, you can use your debit card at any shop for making payment of your purchases. The amount spent by you at the shop is directly deducted from your saving account. You can also use the debit card for online payment like booking of train tickets, booking of movie tickets and majority of the internet payment transactions.

  • Cash withdrawal – It is an instant transaction. Amount withdrawn by you is immediately deducted from your bank balance. Each bank follows different policies about the daily and per transaction withdrawal limit. The maximum permissible amount may vary from Rs.5,000 to Rs.50,000 and minimum amount is generally Rs.100
  • Cash Deposit – It is not an instant transaction. Depending upon the place, it might take anywhere from few hours to 1-2 days to get the credit for the amount deposited by you. Cash deposit transactions are little tricky so you have to be more careful.
  • Balance Inquiry
  • Mini account statement
  • Cheque book request
  • Bill payment – You need to register first with your bank
  • Refilling prepaid mobile
  • Change of PIN

How does Debit Card Look Like?

Here’s a pictorial view of a real life debit card (frontside and backside). Size of all the cards is almost same irrespective of the issuer.

ATM Debit Cards


It displays name/logo of the issuing bank, 16-digit card no, validity (mentioned as month/year), name of the cardholder and visa/master logo. Few banks also include the photograph of the cardholder.


It displays white colored signature panel (card is not valid unless and until it is signed by the cardholder), black colored magnetic stripe (most important part of the card – the entire technology of plastic money works with this magnetic stripe) and contact details/help line numbers of the bank.

What are the Charges?

  • Charges for debit card may vary from Rs.100 to Rs.500 per year depending upon the type of the card and the services offered on the card.
  • Besides the annual fees, there are many other categories of charges such as lost/damaged card replacement fees, lost PIN generation charges, decline charges for insufficient balance and transaction charges (withdrawal, balance inquiry etc.) at banks other than the issuer bank.
  • There is an additional service tax (@12%) and education tax (@3%) on all the charges and fees payable by you.
  • It is advisable to learn in detail about the charges and fees of any bank before signing up for the card.

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