debit card

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debit card,

card that allows the cost of goods or services that are purchased to be deducted directly from the purchaser's checking account. They can also be used at automated teller machinesautomated teller machine
(ATM), device used by bank customers to process account transactions. Typically, a user inserts into the ATM a special plastic card that is encoded with information on a magnetic strip or computer chip.
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 for withdrawing cash from the user's checking account. Increasingly common in the 1990s as an alternative to credit cardscredit card,
device used to obtain consumer credit at the time of purchasing an article or service. Credit cards may be issued by a business, such as a department store or an oil company, to make it easier for consumers to buy their products.
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, debit cards have been promoted as safer than cash and more convenient than personal checks. By 1998 more than 73 million debit cards had been issued, with a sales volume of $134.7 million attributed to their use. They are typically issued by large credit-card companies through their participating banks. Debit cards offer the holder more limited legal protections than credit cards. Similar cards have also been used to distribute welfare benefits to recipients in some locales.