Q:

How do you use a debit card?

A:

Quick Answer

To use a debit card, open a checking account with a bank or credit union. Upon receiving the card, activate the card, and create a unique four-digit PIN number. Swipe the card anywhere that accepts your card provider, such as Visa. When prompted, enter your PIN to complete the transaction.

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Full Answer

  1. Open a checking account

    To receive a traditional debit card, open a checking account with a bank or credit union. Various financial institutions offer different debit card fees and options. Open an account with the institution that best meets your financial needs.

  2. Activate the debit card

    Once a checking account is opened, and funds are deposited, a debit card is mailed to your home address. After receiving the card, call the activation number listed on the card. Alternatively, some banks support online card activation. Be prepared to enter the card number along with a unique activation code found with the card materials.

  3. Create a unique PIN

    To finalize card activation, create a unique four-digit PIN, or personal identification number. Do not use number combinations created from your birthday, social security number or phone number. Some debit cards are issued a predetermined PIN. Once activated, you can change the PIN to a custom code.

  4. Purchase an item

    Visit a retailer that accepts the card provider, such as Visa or MasterCard. If you're unsure, review the front of the card for the provider logo. Upon checkout, swipe the debit card. When prompted, enter the PIN, and confirm the total amount to verify the transaction.

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