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Cash cards and debit cards explained

Cash cards and debit cards explained

Category: Banking

Updated: 14/06/2017
First Published: 15/08/2013

Depending on your age and the type of current account, you have, you may be offered a cash card or a debit card from your bank or building society.

What's the difference between a cash card and a debit card?

A cash card will only allow you to make ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) withdrawals. A debit card will allow you to pay directly for goods and services in any place where your card's payment network (Visa, Maestro, etc.) is accepted.

Cash Card Debit Card
tick Withdraw cash from an ATM tick Withdraw cash from an ATM
cross Pay for goods and services in person or over the telephone tick Pay for goods and services in person or over the telephone
cross Pay for goods and services online tick Pay for goods and services online

How to tell if you've got a debit card rather than a cash card

If you've got a debit card, your card will have one of these logos on the front:

Mastercard

Debit Mastercard is linked to your current account and allows payment for goods and services, and cash withdrawals at ATMs. Contactless cards allow payment of up to £30 without the need to key in a PIN number.

Cash can be removed from any ATM around the world that shows the Mastercard symbol.

Maestro

Maestro debit cards are offered by some UK banks and building societies. They may allow you to make payments even if you don't have quite enough in your account.

Money may be taken from your account immediately or at a later date, so keep an eye on your current account balance to make sure all your payments have cleared.

Visa

Visa debit cards are probably the most commonly issued debit cards in the UK. They may allow you to make payments even if you don't have quite enough in your account.

Money may be taken from your account immediately or at a later date, so keep an eye on your current account balance to make sure all your payments have cleared.

Visa Electron

Visa Electron is a type of debit card that does not allow you to spend more than what is in your account. You have to have the full amount of your payment in your current account in order for the payment to be successful. Unlike Maestro and Visa, the money is taken from your account immediately.

Because of this, Visa Electron is usually issued to holders of basic bank accounts or current accounts for teenagers.

Be aware that the Mastercard and Visa logos will also be shown on credit cards, so make sure you are using the correct card as withdrawing cash on a credit card will incur fees and interest charges.

What about using my card abroad?

You may be able to withdraw cash and pay for goods and services (debit cardholders only) when you travel abroad.

However, bear in mind that there may be charges for doing this:

  • Conversion charges - your bank may charge you for converting your money to the local currency when you withdraw cash abroad or make a purchase.
  • Transaction charges - your bank may charge you for handling the transaction when your withdraw cash abroad or make a purchase.
  • If you withdraw cash, the local bank whose ATM you are using may also charge you a fee.

What Next?

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Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

 
 

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