Card ("ATM Card")
When you open a bank account, often you will receive a debit card
free or for a nominal fee. You can use this card to withdraw money from
ATM (automatic teller) machines and make purchases at many stores. The
money is withdrawn directly from your account. No interest is charged
on the purchase.
debit card contains a Visa or MC symbol, you may also use it to make
a purchase even if the business doesn't use ATM. No interest will be
Card (also see the Credit page on this site)
Owning a credit card is important both for making airline, car and
hotel reservations and for building a credit history so you can obtain
financing for larger purchases, like a car or a home. However, credit
cards can be dangerous if you rely on them for making impulse buys and
extra cash. It is easy to max out your cards and be stuck paying interest
for many years. Buying on credit is encouraged in the U.S. to the point
where credit card debt is higher than ever.
for the lowest possible interest rate. Many cards offer a low introductory
interest rate with a very low transfer rate (as low as 2%) for transferring
your existing balances from other cards. Check out CardWeb
to browse through current offers. Some cards offer "points"
good towards making purchases, hotel or airline credits.
obtain a card, keep in mind these points:
receive a checking account from the bank, you will be given a supply
of checks and a checkbook to put them in. You can use checks to pay
for items as you would in cash. Most businesses, like grocery stores
and retailers, take local checks as long as you have proof of photo
identification like a driver's license or a passport, and sometimes
a credit card as well. Checks are also a good method of payment to individuals
when you need to buy an item in cash, like a used car or an item at
a garage sale.
Restaurants do NOT normally accept checks.