Debit Card

A debit or ATM card lets you spend the money you have in your bank account right away. When you use it to buy something or withdraw cash, the amount is taken out of your account instantly. Unlike a credit card, you're not borrowing money when you use a debit card—you're using your own money that's already in the bank.

You can use yourATM/debit card both within your country and abroad, depending on its features. It can be used for online transactions, buying things, and taking out cash. Just remember, the amount of money you can withdraw or spend might differ depending on the card you have. Usually, you don't have to apply separately for an ATM/debit card—it comes automatically when you open a bank account. But if you want a better card, you can talk to your bank about upgrading it.

Top Debit Card Issuers in India

Features & Benefits of a Debit/ATM Card

1. They provide a safe and secure way to make transactions, reducing the risks associated with carrying cash, such as fraud, theft, and misuse.

2. Debit/ATM cards are easy to carry, handle, and can be used conveniently while traveling, compared to carrying checkbooks or cash.

3. Debit cards often come with rewards such as cashback offers, bonus points, and free insurance coverage. These rewards can be redeemed for various benefits, enhancing the overall experience of using the card.

4. With a vast network of ATM machines available worldwide, these cards offer instant cash withdrawal and can be used for purchases at Point of Sale (PoS) terminals.

5. Debit cards help you keep track of your spending habits. Regular email and SMS alerts about transactions made with your card assist in maintaining a record of your expenditures.

6. Since the spending limit is determined by the funds available in your account, using a debit card encourages responsible spending habits. Recorded transactions make it easier to manage your budget and finances effectively.

Debit Card Fee & Charges

The fees and charges for ATM/debit cards can differ depending on the card and the bank you use. Here are some common fees and charges associated with debit cards in India:

  • Annual Maintenance Fee: This is a yearly fee for using your debit card. It usually ranges from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500, depending on the bank's policies. However, if your debit card is issued with a salary account, this fee is often waived.
  • Duplicate PIN or regeneration of PIN Fee: If you forget your debit/ATM card PIN, you can get a duplicate PIN sent to your address for a small fee, ranging from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100.
  • POS Fee: No additional fee is charged for using your debit card to make purchases. However, for fuel transactions, there's usually an extra surcharge of around 1%.
  • Card Replacement Fee: This fee is for getting a new ATM/debit card. Some banks, like HDFC, don't charge for replacing a physically damaged card but charge Rs. 200 for a lost card. Banks like SBI typically charge between Rs. 100-300 for card replacement due to damage or loss.
  • Cash Withdrawal Charges: ATM/Debit cards generally permit frequent cash withdrawals, but there might be limitations. Different banks have varying policies regarding charges based on transaction frequency. Typically, transactions at your own bank's ATM are free, but there's a set limit for free transactions at other banks' ATMs per month. In such cases, a charge of Rs. 10 to Rs. 30 per transaction may apply.
  • International Transaction Charges: Fees for cross-currency markup, checking debit card balance, and withdrawing cash using your debit card in foreign countries are applied for each transaction. These charges can either be a percentage of the transaction amount or a flat fee.

Debit Card Credit Card
When you use your debit card funds are taken from your linked bank account (savings/current) When you use your credit card, you borrow money from your card issuer.
Debit cards are commonly provided with salary or savings accounts. You can apply for a credit card with any issuer, regardless of having an account with them.
They usually offer small rewards and cashback. They offer extensive rewards and cashback compared to debit cards.
You can only spend what's available in your account. You can spend up to your credit limit.
Using it doesn't affect your credit score. Using them impacts your credit score directly and can help improve it.
ATM/debit cards often have higher cash withdrawal limits. Credit cards provide additional benefits like lounge access and lost card liability protection.
EMI facility is restricted based on agreements. Credit cards typically offer EMI facility on transactions above Rs. 2,500.

Usually, when you open a savings, current, or salary account, you'll get a debit card with it. But if you want a different card that fits your spending habits better or if you want to upgrade your current card, you can ask your bank for it either online or by going to the bank in person.

  • Online: Visit your bank's website and navigate to the "Debit Cards" section. Alternatively, you can use your bank's mobile app or net banking portal. Approval may take 2-3 days, and delivery around 7 working days.
  • Offline: Visit your bank in person, preferably the branch where you hold your account, to request a new or upgraded debit card.

Selecting the right credit card can indeed be overwhelming with numerous options available. Here's a simplified step-by-step guide to help you make an informed decision:


  • If you lose your debit card, report it to the issuer right away to prevent fraud.
  • Keep an eye on your emails and texts to quickly catch any fraudulent transactions.
  • Always confirm each transaction by entering your PIN or OTP, or by providing your signature.
  • Set up SMS alerts from your bank to stay informed about your debit card spending.
  • Regularly check your account statements to monitor your spending.


  • Never share your ATM/debit card PIN on social media, phone, or email. Memorize it instead of writing it down.
  • Avoid using unsafe online platforms for transactions. Always opt for secure websites with authentic 2-step verification.
  • Don’t damage your debit card physically, as it can affect the magnetic stripe or chip.


  • Easy to avail
  • Limited fee & charges
  • Safer than carrying cash
  • Helps avoid debt


  • No impact on credit score
  • Limited rewards, cashback, lounge access, and insurance benefits
  • No additional purchasing power
  • Limited milestone, welcome, and renewal benefits

1. What is a debit card?

A debit card is a plastic card provided to you when you open a savings, current, or salary account in a bank. It gives you access to the funds in your account, allowing you to withdraw money from ATMs or make purchases online or in-person. Essentially, it combines features of both an ATM card and a credit card—you can withdraw cash like with an ATM card, but also earn rewards or cashback when making purchases directly with the card.

2. What is a virtual debit card?

Virtual debit cards are electronic cards designed for online transactions, primarily for e-commerce or retail purchases. These cards have specified and often lower limits compared to physical debit cards. Additionally, virtual debit cards cannot be used at ATMs for cash withdrawals.

3. What to do if a debit card is lost or stolen?

If your debit card or ATM card is lost or stolen, it's crucial to report it to the bank or issuer right away. You can contact the bank through their mobile app, NetBanking platform, or by calling their customer care number. It's important to ensure that your card is blocked immediately to prevent any unauthorized transactions. Some banks also provide services like SMS or Missed call service for blocking a debit card.

4. What are the benefits offered on a debit card?

Debit cards come with various benefits including high cash withdrawal and shopping limits, free ATM withdrawals, and easy access to your bank account funds. Additionally, many debit cards offer perks across different categories such as cashback, lifestyle, travel, shopping, and insurance. You can choose a card that suits your needs and apply or upgrade accordingly.

5. Are Debit and ATM cards the same?

Yes, both ATM cards and debit cards serve the same purpose of withdrawing funds at an ATM. Therefore, they are essentially the same thing.

6. Which banks offer virtual debit cards?

Many banks provide virtual debit cards to encourage digital payments. Some of the leading banks offering these cards include SBI, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bank of Baroda, and Union Bank of India, among others.

7. What is Debit card Tokenization?

Debit card tokenization involves replacing the actual card details stored with merchants with a unique code known as a "token." According to new RBI guidelines effective from October 1, 2022, debit card information won't be stored on multiple platforms. To make a transaction, you'll either need to tokenize your card or manually enter the complete card details each time.

8. How do I get my debit card token?

You can tokenize your debit card while making a payment on any preferred merchant app or website. During the transaction, you'll need to input your debit/ATM card details, including the card number, cardholder's name, expiry date, and CVV. After entering these details, you can choose the option "Save card as per RBI guidelines." To authenticate the transaction, you'll need to enter the OTP received on your registered phone number. Once authenticated, the merchant won't store your card details, and a token for your debit card will be generated to facilitate future payments.