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4 Min. Read

How to Use Debit Card for Purchasing: 4 Steps

How to Use Debit Card for Purchasing: 4 Steps

There are a number of different ways to make payments these days. As such, being enabled to take any payment option that may come up is important. One of the longest-running, and most convenient, options is the debit card. You’re probably familiar with it. They’re identical in appearance to consumer credit cards but operate slightly differently. If you’re looking to understand those differences, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how to make debit card purchases here!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Debit Card?

How to Use a Debit Card for Purchases

Key Takeaways

What Is a Debit Card?

A debit card and a credit card look almost identical. They both have a magnetic strip, or magnetic stripe, on the back. Many have chip technology on the front, allowing them to be used in chip-enabled terminals. Sometimes they’ll be referred to as a chip card. However, debit cards and credit cards are different in their operation.

Debit Cards Are Offered by Your Bank

You’re going to get your debit card from your bank of choice. They may also offer you a credit card. However, unlike a credit card, a debit card is linked directly to a bank account. It comes with a specific bank statement, typically. It’s used for online banking purposes, too. Debit cards only come from banks, and sometimes are called a bank card. Credit cards, however, can come from all kinds of financial institutions. This includes banks and credit card companies.

Debit Cards Come With a PIN

Debit cards require a PIN to use them. The PIN, also known as a personal identification number, is a security code associated with the card. It prevents other people from being able to use it. However, when making online purchases, the debit card acts like a credit card and doesn’t require the use of a PIN.

Debit Transactions are Different from Credit Transactions

Debit transactions are linked to a bank account directly. They pull money out of the account for purchases in stores. Debit card transactions happen instantly, and they don’t pend as credit card transactions do. This makes them ideal for personal banking when on a budget. However, there are business debit cards, just like there are business credit cards.

How to Use a Debit Card for Purchases

There are a few simple steps for using a debit card for purchases. We’ll cover them all so that you’re sure of what you’re doing.

1. Check the Account Before Any Transaction

This step is easier than it was in the past thanks to mobile payment platforms. Most banks have an application in the App Store or on Google Play. It lets you check your balance from wherever you are. If you’re planning on using your debit card to make a purchase, you need to know how much money you have.

2. Do Your Shopping

Gather whatever supplies or services your business needs to operate. Know around how much you have to spend for these things. If you exceed the amount in your bank account, the transaction will be declined.

3. Present Your Debit Card as Method of Payment

This can happen in a number of ways. The three most common are listed below.

  • Present the card to the merchant. The cashier may take your card and swipe it, and you’ll be responsible for providing the PIN on a separate device. This is an older method of making a debit card payment.
  • Use the card reader. Most establishments have a card reader that’s linked to the register. You’re in control, and you’ll use the card reader. It’ll ask you to swipe or insert your card, verify the amount, then provide your PIN.
  • Enter the card information online. If you’re purchasing anything online, you’ll enter the card information as shown on the card. This method is the same for debit cards and credit cards.

4. Verify the Amount Taken

You’ve now completed your debit card purchase. You’ll be provided a receipt by the merchant. Verify that the correct amount was taken from the account, and keep the receipt for your records.

What if They Only Take Credit Cards?

Your debit card can act as a credit card in most cases. The purchase may appear as pending in your banking app and will process in a few business days.

Key Takeaways

Debit cards are one of the most popular forms of payment. If you’re running a business, it’s important to know how to assist customers through this process. For more step-by-step guides like this, check out our resource hub! We have plenty of helpful information just like it housed there.


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