There are a number of different types of cards available, for details on how and when to use them click here or read the definitions below.
A debit card allows you to withdraw money from your account at a cash machine (ATM) using your PIN, let you buy things on the Internet, over the phone or in person.
There are several types of Debit Card, the fiour major debit cards being Maestro, Mastercard, Visa Electron and Visa Debit.
Visa Electron checks the balance of your account before you are allowed to make a purchase, whereas Maestro, Mastercard and Visa Debit do not check meaning you can go overdrawn.
For details on what it means to be overdrawn, click here.
For a guide to the types of debit cards available, follow this link.
A comprehensive guide to using Debit Cards is available from MoneyHelper.
A credit card lets you pay for purchases using borrowed money (on credit), which you can pay back later with interest. More information on credit cards can be found in the Credit section of Advice Gateway, follow this link to see more.
Most debit and credit cards let you to pay up to £100 by holding your card to a card reader without having to enter your PIN. This is known as Contactless Payment.
More information on Contactless Payments can be found at the following links:
Charge or Store cards allow you to buy things on credit in a similar way to a credit card.
However they differ in that you pay back your balance at the end of each month. Whilst this sounds like a bad deal, charge cards do not charge any interest but may require an annual fee. If you fail to repay your balance in full each month penalty payment charges may be enforced.
A guide to using Store Cards is available from MoneyHelper.
As the name suggests, a prepaid card allows you to put money on your card meaning you can only spend as much as you have put on your card, and cannot get into debt. If you do not have a credit or debit card, prepaid cards are a useful way of having the ease of paying on card without some of the pitfalls that credit and debit cards present.
You can “top up” prepaid cards at a store that accepts them, online, at the Post Office or at a Paypoint machine. However, some prepaid cards charge transactions fees, top up fees or monthly supervision fees – so make sure you check the terms and conditions of the card before you apply.
A guide to using Prepaid Cards is available from MoneyHelper.
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