ATM card

What is an ATM card?

An ATM card is a bank card used to access an ATM. Virtually everyone who has a checking account also has a card that can be used at an ATM, in the form of a debit or credit card. However, some banks also issue ATM-only cards, which can’t be directly used for making purchases.

Deeper definition

When someone opens a deposit account with a bank, she’ll frequently be given a payment card to access the funds in the account. In most cases, the card will be a debit card or check card, or, in the case of a line of credit, a credit card. In addition to making purchases, all of these cards function as ATM cards, meaning that they can be used to withdraw funds at an ATM.

Some banks may issue an ATM-only card, which can’t be used to make purchases; it can only be used to perform regular ATM functions, although some exceptions apply, such as when the payment processing company has a terminal installed at the retailer. All debit cards are ATM cards, but not all ATM cards are debit cards.

As with other payment cards, ATM cards are secured with a personal identification number (PIN). ATMs allow customers to deposit and withdraw cash as well as check their balance, but customers may have to pay a fee when using an ATM card at an ATM not associated with the issuing financial institution.

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ATM card example

Scott just opened up a new checking account at a local branch of a bank. After making an initial deposit, the bank gave him a debit card to use to make purchases as well as use at an ATM. He can use the card at any ATM, but he gets assessed a $3 fee every time he uses it at the ATM of another bank.

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