Difference Between ATM card and Debit Card (With Table)

The most common payment systems are ATM and debit cards. And besides, they both do away with the necessity to carry currency with you at all times. Debit and ATM cards are chips that are used in the financial sector. When a customer opens a bank online or a normal bank account, the bank issues them both ATM and debit cards and if requested, a credit card too.

ATM and debit cards operate by digitally connecting and retrieving the issuer’s account through a plastic card. So what are the distinctions between any of these two plastic cards that appear to be identical? It’s difficult to tell the difference between them just by looking at them, therefore this article focuses on the features and applications of both cards and compares them side by side.

ATM Card vs Debit Card

The difference between an ATM card and a Debit card is that an ATM card is limited in functionality since it is only useful when withdrawing cash from the ATM itself whereas a debit card has flexible functionality starting from instant cash concept to online payment and ease of transaction. ATM cards are not much used these days as debit cards and credit cards are much more versatile and convenient to use in modern-day society.

An ATM card is a plastic card issued by the cardholder and provided by the bank for ease of cash withdrawal from the ATMs 24×7. ATM cards are only used to draw money from the bank account of the withdrawer. You may input the card ATM and make withdrawals using the PIN that is generated by the bank and can be customized too. The user’s bank account is connected to the ATM card and the card is encoded with a magnetic lock to provide transactional security.

When you make a withdrawal, your account balance decreases in real-time and your connected mobile number or email will get notified. An ATM card can’t be used for anything else. You won’t be able to get an overdraft using your ATM card or do online purchases as well.

A debit card on the other hand is a flexible and multipurpose card that helps the user with many types of finance regarding processes. The debit card does not require the use of an Automated teller machine to operate. The debit card is the extended version of an ATM card and is widely used these days. It is a modernized successor of the same old ATM card. It may be used to withdraw cash as well as transactions and online purchases that do not need cash.

Because of the logo on the debit card, it may be used to make transactions just like a credit or cash card nationally or internationally. Typically, the logo is that of a payment processing firm like Maestro, Mastercard, and Visa.

Comparison Table Between ATM Card and Debit Card

Parameters of ComparisonATM CardDebit Card
FunctionTo withdraw cash from the ATMDebit cards are often referred to as “check cards.” When using a debit card, the cardholder can conduct online transactions and transfer funds from his or her bank account while completing a payment
MeaningAutomatic Teller Machine CardTo help in online transactions and payments via wallets and card swipes.
Validity3 years3-5 years
AppearancePlastic card with a chip implanted and a signature sttrip with no transactional logo like Visa, Maestro or Mastercard.Plastic card issued by the respective bank with a 16 digit unique card number, CVV number and transactional logos like Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Rupay or AE.
DisadvantagesDoes Not support net banking and only focuses on physical cash withdrawalNo disadvantages as it is the hybrid of an ATM card and a credit card.

What is ATM Card?

ATM card is the abbreviation for Automated Teller Machine card. ATM card is a PIN-coded plastic card that is provided by a banking institution to the account holders for usage at ATMs. Usage is the withdrawal of cash through the ATM card only.

Cardholders may use it to purchase things by inputting their Personal Identification Number (PIN), in addition to applying it at ATMs (PIN). Even though some people believe debit cards to be a sort of ATM card, ATM cards are typically being replaced by debit cards. The ATM card does not bear the Visa, Maestro, Mastercard, or AE logos since these cards cannot be used internationally and for online transactions as well. The deduction from the savings account, whether it be for cash withdrawal or purchase, is likewise instantaneous and updates the transaction instantly.

The ATM card in the 21st Century is being replaced by debit and credit cards due to its vast limitations. ATM cardholders must know the few appearances regarding elements that can help people differentiate between a debit card and an ATM card. Some of the elements are:

Name of Cardholder along with bank name and logo.

  1. The 16 digit card number is unique in every card.
  2. A signing strip for identification.
  3. A microchip (Golden colored) that contains the details of the cardholder’s account and helps in verification and decoding purposes.
  4. Lacks transactional logos like Mastercard, Maestro, or Visa.

According to usage, the ATM card must be enabled. You may authorize the card by making a cash withdrawal or verifying your balances. A 4-6 digit security code or PIN is included with all ATM cards. To complete the transaction, the ATM PIN must be inputted.

What is Debit Card?

Debit cards are often referred to as “check cards.” When using a debit card, the cardholder can conduct online transactions and transfer funds from his or her bank account while completing a payment. It is a bank-issued plastic chip-implanted card that may be used to purchase products or services at any time and location.

You may use debit cards to pay for services digitally as well as pay your monthly bills. You could even be qualified for savings on internet purchases and payment services if you use your card as these debit cards sometimes incur quantitative discounts on certain e-commerce websites.

To enable users for easy access to cash from their bank deposits, debit cards combine the fundamental features of an ATM card and a credit card. Rather than making a payment via check, you can pay with a debit card online, at the cash register, or via a mobile digital wallet.

You may usually pay funds from your connected bank account with a debit card instead of withdrawing physical cash from the ATM. For example, you may swipe the cards to pay for goods in a retailer or enter the payment details, expiration date, and CVV to conduct the buying process via the internet and e-commerce, pay utility bills, and replenish data and phone bills. The transfer is immediate, and funds are sent directly from your savings account of the registered bank to the payee’s wallet or bank account. Payments are also safe thanks to enhanced security measures.

Main Differences Between ATM card and Debit Card

  1. ATM cards can only be used in ATMs whereas debit cards can be used during any purchases without actually withdrawing cash.
  2. ATM cards do not support net banking but the very concept and utility of a debit card are to make transactions via the internet easier and more convenient.
  3. ATM cards do not have transaction logos like Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro but debit cards have those.
  4. ATM cards require constant pin updation but debit cards are securely used so one PIN can be used for an entire lifetime.
  5. Overdrafts are available with debit cards, although ATM cards do not often have this feature.


In terms of usage, there are major distinctions between a debit card and an ATM card. As a result, they cannot be used interchangeably. As a result, make sure you create a savings account that allows you to use both ATM and card payments. Both cards are essential for today’s financial demands and make bank transactions a breeze. Although many banks; private and government, are specifying the usage of cashless methods for payment.

The ATM card and a debit card are both essential but debit cards being more flexible and accessible are preferred over ATM cards because of ease of usage and internet banking facilities along with exciting offers they bundle in e-commerce too.


  1. https://cleartax.in/g/terms/atm-card
  2. https://www.consumer.gov/articles/1004-using-debit-cards
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