What is an ATM?
ATM is a software and hardware device that automatically receives and dispenses cash using bank cards. The first ATM was installed in 1967 in London and only dispensed cash.
Now, using ATMs, you can not only withdraw cash but also deposit it into your account (using a cash-in device), pay for utility services and mobile operators, repay loans, make currency exchange transactions and money transfers, receive mini-statements etc. Some banks also offer to change the PIN-code of their card using an ATM, to activate the SMS-informing service about transactions performed with the card.
A respectable box with an electronic screen is actually a whole computer that runs different operating systems: usually Windows XP, less often Linux.
One ATM costs about 10-40 thousand dollars and works on average for about five years. Banks that want to buy more than a thousand of these machines must have tens of millions of dollars. However, not only the number of ATMs is important for the bank, but also their correct functioning.
When you insert your card into an ATM, the machine encrypts the information it receives. These are the contents of the magnetic stripe, your pin code and the operation you want to perform. Then it transfers the data to the command center, and it already sends an electronic request to the processing – a special complex that collects, processes, sends and controls information about transactions with plastic cards. True, only payment systems (Visa, MasterCard and others) and large banks have processing.
The processing center checks information about the cardholder and the amount on his or her account in the bank’s database. After this procedure, the command center receives in response “consent” or refusal to carry out the operation, and sends commands to the ATM to fulfill your request. All information about the course of the procedure is saved, so the actions of the ATM can always be checked.
Mike Lee, ATMIA’s director of international affairs, provides some tips on how to use ATMs to maximize the security of your savings.
- Use ATM machines that you know well. If you urgently need money, choose an ATM located in a well-lit place;
- Before approaching the ATM, carefully inspect the entire area of the ATM location. Do not start working with it if there are suspicious persons nearby or if the ATM looks unreliable;
- Do not open your wallet, bag or wallet while in line at the ATM. Keep your card in hand before going to the ATM;
- Pay attention to anything unusual or suspicious about the ATM’s appearance. If, for example, something is attached to a card slot or keyboard, do not use that ATM. Look for unusual instructions on the display screen. The “blank” screen is especially suspicious. If you suspect that the ATM is unreliable, go to another and report your opinion to the bank;
- Do not use ATM machines that have messages or signs that indicate a change in screen directions, especially if the message is displayed over a card reader. Banks and other ATM owners do not post messages about switching to other specific ATMs and do not direct customers to modified ATMs.
What is a debit card?
A debit card is a payment instrument that can be replenished in cash or by transfers from other accounts, as well as made non-cash payments for goods and services. It is not designed for automatic online payday loans in Louisiana, and the funds on it are your own. In fact, a debit card is a virtual wallet, but you do not need to count and get bills from it.
You can deposit money on it whenever you want – replenish cash at ATMs and bank branches, transfer funds from accounts. Salary debit cards, retirement debit cards and preferential debit cards are used to receive scholarships and pensions transferred from current accounts. This is the main difference between debit and credit cards. The funds we use are originally ours, and it doesn’t matter whether the salary or the cash transferred to it.
Above, we have already touched on the ways of using this payment instrument but did not talk about all. The most obvious way to dispose of a plastic card is to pay for your purchases. However, it is worth listing the other options for its use in order to appreciate the benefits of debit:
- The security of your funds. Many people admit that they are afraid to carry with them a wallet full of cash. With such a card, you can only carry a small amount of cash, which is necessary, for example, to move around the city or to pay in shops that do not have a payment terminal;
- Efficiency. Payment with plastic is quick and convenient, you do not need to count cash, especially when you need a lot of little things;
- Control over every operation. Any operation will be recorded. You can get a bank statement or view a list of transactions in the online bank;
- Discounts and bonuses for bank clients. Many credit institutions cooperate with large networks and release co-branded payment instruments. Do you often buy groceries from a chain convenience store? You can get a card with an affiliate program of this network and receive discounts on purchases;
- Payment via the Internet. Pay for communications, utilities, taxes and fines without leaving your home;
- Earnings. There are programs for calculating interest on the card’s balance: store any amount on the card, and at the end of the month the balance will be replenished with accrued interest, an excellent analogue of a bank deposit.
Products can be conditionally divided into several types:
- By payment systems: Visa, MasterCard, MIR, American Express, etc.;
- By protection parameters: with magnetic tape, chip, combined;
- By service class: electronic, standard, gold, platinum;
- By personalization: registered and unnamed.
Payment systems are services for carrying out financial transactions with plastic cards. The most common payment systems are Visa and MasterCard. These are international systems that allow you to make transfers around the world.
Today, the most common debit cards are those with a are chip – the chip not only contains all the information about the owner’s account but also protects it better. The magnetic stripe is designed for the same purpose but is less protected and can be damaged even with careful handling. Combined payment instruments have both a chip and a magnetic tape.
The class of service for a bank card implies differences in the available options. So, an electronic card is still the same debit card but it does not have a physical medium. It cannot be used to pay in offline stores, but you can perform payment transactions on online platforms. A standard plastic card allows you to make transactions both in online and offline stores. Various bonuses are also offered for it – for example, cashback and interest on the balance. Gold or platinum is an opportunity to emphasize the status of the client and his or her wealth. They are often provided with VIP service and options such as concierge service.
As the name implies, a personalized debit card is tied to a specific user and engraved with the customer’s first and last name. They have more features and benefits, including making purchases on foreign sites or transfers through third-party banks. The unnamed are instant-release cards. You can get them directly from the bank. They are also tied to your bank account but they will not be able to pay in the online store or use them abroad.
As we mentioned earlier, a debit card has a wide range of applications. It can be used to pay in offline and online stores or be used as a means of storing funds.
However, the question often arises of how to find out the balance. This can be done at an ATM of any credit institution or online service if you entered into a remote service agreement during registration.
- At an ATM. Just insert the plastic into the ATM or attach it to the reader, and then enter the PIN code. Then you just need to find the desired menu item – “Card balance”. You can print a receipt with information or show the balance on the screen. If you check the balance at the terminal of another credit institution, a commission may be charged for the operation;
- In Internet banking. You must complete a remote service contract. Go to the bank’s website and go to your personal account by entering your username and password. Find information about the card account – as a rule, information about it is located in the “Accounts” section or immediately on the main page of the personal account.
In the same way, you can get a statement on the transactions performed at ATMs. However, it should be noted that the most detailed information will be provided in your personal account. There you will see not only the latest transactions but also the purchases and transfers made earlier. Some banks even provide an electronic check listing all items.
ATMs and online services can also be used to make instant transfers, pay utility bills, and much more.
Thus, a debit card is a convenient tool for quick payments and instant transfers. Using it, you can save the time that was previously required for cash transactions.