Financial Literacy for Everyone
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Debit cards

A debit card is linked to your current account or your savings account. It is a "buy now, pay now" tool.

You can do more things with a debit card than with a prepaid card and it has the following benefits:

  • Pay for your shopping, airtime and for food at fast food outlets.
  • Withdraw cash at shops such as Pick 'n Pay, Spar, Shoprite and Checkers when you shop there. This is called "cash back".
  • Use it at an ATM to do a balance enquiry, draw cash and transfer money.
  • Pay accounts such as electricity, water and telephone with your debit card at shops like Spar, Shoprite, Pick 'n Pay and Checkers.

A debit card is a bank card that gives you access to the money in your bank account. It transfers the money from your account to the shop immediately when you make a payment. It's a bit like using cash, but it is safer and more convenient to carry a debit card than it is to carry cash. You can also use it to pay accounts, draw money and transfer money at an ATM. If you lose your card or it is stolen, you do not lose the money in your account. It is very important to phone your bank immediately to let them know if your card is lost or stolen. You can then get a new card at your bank. This will cost you a fee, so try to keep your card safe.

You must have enough money in the account to cover the cost of what you are buying. If you do not have enough money in your account, the transaction will not go through – it will say ''declined'' or ''insufficient funds.'' This means that the shop you are buying from will not give you the goods.

Cost of a debit card

You normally pay a once-off fee to get the card. There is normally a small service fee charged to your account for every transaction. Your bank must tell you what these fees are.


Never give your PIN number to anybody. Anybody who knows your PIN can use your card.