A debit card is a payment card that is linked to a bank account and allows the cardholder to make electronic transactions, such as purchases and withdrawals, directly from the available funds in the associated bank account. Unlike a credit card, a debit card does not provide a line of credit; instead, it deducts funds directly from the cardholder’s bank account.

Key features of debit cards include:

1. **Linked to Bank Account:** A debit card is typically issued by a bank and is directly linked to the cardholder’s checking or savings account. When a transaction is made using the debit card, the corresponding amount is immediately withdrawn from the linked account.

2. **PIN (Personal Identification Number):** Debit card transactions often require the cardholder to enter a PIN to authenticate the transaction. This adds an extra layer of security and helps prevent unauthorized use.

3. **Overdraft Protection:** Some debit cards come with overdraft protection, allowing the cardholder to make transactions that exceed the available balance in the account. However, overdraft protection may come with fees.

4. **ATM Access:** Debit cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash, check account balances, and perform other banking transactions. The cardholder may incur fees when using ATMs that are outside the issuing bank’s network.

5. **Network Affiliation:** Debit cards are usually affiliated with major payment networks such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. This affiliation allows the card to be accepted at a wide range of merchants globally.

6. **Online and In-Store Purchases:** Debit cards can be used for both online and in-store purchases. They are widely accepted by merchants and provide a convenient and secure way to make payments.

7. **No Interest Charges:** Since debit cards use the cardholder’s own funds, there are no interest charges associated with transactions. However, the cardholder needs to have sufficient funds in the linked account to cover purchases.

It’s important to note that while debit cards offer convenience and accessibility, they do not build a credit history, as credit cards might. Additionally, users should take precautions to safeguard their debit card information to prevent unauthorized transactions. Checking account balances regularly and promptly reporting any unauthorized transactions to the bank is a good practice for debit card users.