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Debit Cards, ATM Cards and ATMs

Debit Cards

When is a Debit Card an ATM card? When is an ATM card a Debit card? It sounds confusing.

What are Debit Cards and ATM Cards?

Since there may be some variation among institutions, we'll describe what they are at DCU. We offer a DCU Visa® Debit Card and a DCU ATM Card. The confusion begins when you realize that both Debit Cards and ATM Cards can both do debit and ATM card transactions. A DCU Debit Card can do everything a DCU ATM Card can, but a DCU ATM Card cannot do everything a DCU Debit Card can.

The term debit card is generally used to differentiate the product from a credit card. A debit card makes a purchase with the money in the holder's checking account while a credit card purchase creates a loan obligation. There are two kinds of debit transactions – Visa and POS.

  • Visa debit transactions – A Visa Debit Card is accepted for purchases almost everywhere Visa Credit Cards are accepted, only the money comes out of your checking account. You can even make purchases over the Internet or by phone. If you are making a typical Visa purchase, you will hand the store clerk your Debit Card and sign a receipt. In other instances, you would swipe or insert the card in a terminal at the checkout line or insert it in a gas pump and choose credit. You will not need to input a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The purchase will pass through the Visa payment system and typically come out of your checking account in two days or so. DCU ATM Cards do not have a Visa logo on the face and cannot do these transactions.
  • If you return merchandise you purchased with your DCU Debit Card, merchants will issue you a Visa credit slip. This amount will be credited to your DCU checking account. Purchases and returns with your DCU Debit Card are free transactions that will appear on your monthly checking statement.

  • POS debit transactions – A POS (electronic Point-of-Sale) transaction does not involve Visa. The purchase is taken instantly from your account through ATM networks such as NYCE® or Cirrus®. If you are at a terminal or gas pump, you'll choose debit to go through POS networks. You will need to input your PIN. Because the cash transfer is instantaneous, many stores will allow you to withdraw some cash at the register with your purchase. That's a great way to avoid ATM surcharges. Both DCU Debit Cards and DCU ATM Cards can do these transactions.

Both DCU Debit Cards and DCU ATM Cards can make withdrawals, deposits, inquiries, and transfers at ATMs.

Why does DCU offer both a Debit Card and an ATM Card?

We recommend all members open a DCU checking account and carry a DCU Visa Debit Card. It comes free with the account and has the extra functionality. However, we have members who don't want a checking account, but do want ATM access. The DCU ATM Card meets that need. Also, young members can open a checking account as early as twelve with a parent or guardian as joint owner. They can qualify for an ATM card at that age, but must be at least 17 for the Debit Card.

DCU Debit Card Advantages

By using a DCU Debit Card regularly, you can take save time and money by taking advantage of the following benefits:

  • Safety – Your DCU Debit Card eliminates the need to carry large amounts of cash. You can also leave that bulky checkbook at home.
  • Faster transactions – With your DCU Debit Card, you won't have to spend time writing a check. Just hand over your card and sign the slip. There's no need to show multiple forms of I.D. or verify your address and phone number. And, if you choose credit at the register or gas pump, you don't have to enter your PIN – your payment still comes out of your DCU checking account.
  • Shop at home – Whenever you order something by phone, you won't be limited to a credit card or COD. Since your DCU Debit Card has an account number like a credit card, your order can be accepted easily. And your purchase will come directly out of your DCU checking account.
  • Lower Check Printing Costs – If you use your DCU Debit Card for daily purchases and reserve your paper checks for paying bills at home, you'll save money on check printing fees. Use Online Banking Bill Payer and you'll virtually eliminate checks.
  • Pay bills at home – Instead of writing a check for bills, such as magazine subscriptions or medical invoices, just write in your DCU Debit Card number and expiration date and sign in the space provided. Then record the transaction in your check register.
  • Easier record keeping with financial software – If you use Online Banking to download statement information onto Microsoft Money® or Intuit Quicken® software, you already know payee information on checks you write is not available electronically. You must match up the check number with your check register and type it in. If you pay bills with the DCU Debit Card, the payee information does come across in your download, saving you typing when you update your electronic register.

What other things can the Debit Card help you do?

Your DCU Debit Card is more than a quick way to get cash at over 250,000 ATMs. It's a check replacement you can use almost everywhere Visa is accepted – more than 14 million places worldwide. Purchases you make with it come right out of your DCU checking account. There's no annual fee.

  • For people in a hurry – It's faster than a check at the grocery store. It's faster than cash at electronic gas pumps. Catalog purchases arrive faster when you can order by phone. Select credit instead of debit at the register or pump and you'll save a step. You won't need to enter your PIN and you'll still pay from checking.
  • For "pay-as-you-go" consumers – A Debit Card lets you do it conveniently. All purchases clear your checking account in a day or two. It's safer than cash and faster than checks.
  • For parents with kids away at school – Limit how much they spend for books, fees, food, and clothes by the amount you put in the account. Your statement shows where the money went.
  • For things you don't want on credit
  • – If you don't like to charge things like food, stamps, or gasoline, use the Debit Card. It's faster and welcome more places than checks.
  • For financial software users – When you download account information from Online Banking to Quicken or Money, Debit Card transactions list the vendor's name and city – checks don't.
  • If you're tired of writing or paying for checks – Your Debit Card can replace most of them.

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Making ATM transactions

You have access to your accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with your DCU Debit Card. Make withdrawals, deposits, transfers, loan and mortgage payments, or verify your balance at our conveniently located DCU ATMs. All transactions at DCU ATMs are free with a Checking with Plus or Relationship benefits. All you need is your DCU Debit Card and your PIN.

FREE special envelopes are available at some DCU ATMs for deposits or loan payments involving cash or checks. Use one envelope per transaction. You may put multiple checks and cash in one envelope as long as everything will be deposited in the same account. Some DCU ATMs no longer need envelopes for deposits.

Non-DCU ATM Transactions

At non-DCU ATMs, you can make withdrawals, transfers, and inquiries with your DCU checking account or your Savings Account. You may also make DCU deposits at many machines on the CO-OP ATMSM network. Other accounts are not accessible through non-DCU ATMs.

Safety tips

Visit our StreetWise Privacy and Fraud section for more information on Debit Card and ATM Security.

For More Information

For more information on Debit Cards and ATM service, visit these links:

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