A debit card is a plastic card linked to a bank account. The card, like a credit card, can be swiped at a counter, used online, or to withdraw cash from an ATM machine.
Most debit cards in the UK are now chip and pin, which means using them in retail outlets requires a four-digit personal identification number to be typed in, instead of signing for goods.
When cash is withdrawn or a purchase made the amount taken out is debited from the user's account.
Debit cards tend to be linked to the Switch/Maestro, Solo, Visa, Cirrus, Delta, or MasterCard systems or a combination of these. Retailers and ATM machines worldwide display which of these they accept, allowing cardholders to make purchases or withdraw cash worldwide (although most account providers charge a fee for foreign use).
Debit cards can also have a cheque guarantee function.