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1/14/09

How to Get a Debit Card

A debit card looks exactly like a credit card. It will have the same shape, color, and magnetic strip that a credit card has. A debit card is used almost exactly the same way as a credit card. In fact, there are times when a debit card is used exactly the same way as a credit card. For example, if you are at the grocery store and you want to pay with a debit card, you swipe your card through the machine and type in your PIN (PIN means personal identification number). If the bill clears, your debit is approved and on you go. However, if you are in a restaurant, you card is swiped like a credit card and instead of having to type in a PIN, you have to sign a receipt.

Debit cards are cards that draw against your checking account. Basically, when you make a purchase with your debit card, the purchase price is deducted from a pool of money that you already have on deposit with your bank. If you spend more than you have on deposit, you are likely to pay overdraft fees and whatever other fees your bank is allowed to charge based upon your debit card agreement.

Some of you may have used your debit card as a credit card at the gas station and/or grocery store. In other words, you may have pushed the "credit" button on the payment machines available at these locations. You did not have to enter your pin and you had to sign a receipt or enter your zip code. Even though the transaction was executed and approved like a typical credit transaction, your debit card purchase is not reflected on your credit report and the purchase price is debited from your checking account within a business day or two. Therefore, although transacted like a credit transaction, it is not in fact a credit transaction when you use your debit card. You do not get any credit report benefits and such transactions and subsequent debiting on your checking account does not affect your credit score.

Obtaining a debit card is very easy. Because a debit card is linked to a checking account, the first thing you need is a checking account. The easiest way to get a debit card is to obtain one from the one bank in which you opened your checking account. Nowadays, banks automatically give you a debit card when you open a checking account. If, however, you do not have a debit card but you have a checking account, go to the bank in which you have a checking account and request a debit card. You may have to fill out a paper, but because the card is linked to your checking account, there is no approval process.

Getting a debit card is that easy. Therefore, if you do not have one, obtain one today.

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