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How to Get a Debit Card?

A decade ago, everyone carried cash. ATMs and banks were plentiful, shopping was easy, and stores were made of bricks and mortar. Those days, however, are well behind us. Today, much of your shopping can be done online, and that which can't is often done in an ATM free shopping mall.

Carrying cash also brings with it the risks of being a target for crime. In addition, if you're anything like me, losing your wallet or purse full of irreplaceable bills is a constant worry. Replacing your cash with a credit card may seem like a viable option, but the temptation to spend beyond your means is difficult to resist.

So, why bother with all the hassle? Forget cash or credit and get yourself a debit card. A debit card has all of the conveniences of a credit card and the smart financial sense of not spending money you don't have. Debit cards are also an excellent way to teach your teenager how to manage their funds.

How to Get a Debit Card by Going through Your Bank

The safest and most common sense way how to get a debit card is to open a checking account at a bank. Most banks, when you open a checking account with them, will give you an ATM card for no extra charge.

These cards do not have a Visa or MasterCard logo on them, so you can only use them at stores that are able to process debit cards and cannot use them online. While this type of card will suffice in some situations, for utmost convenience you want to ask your bank for a debit card that can also function as a credit card.

These types of debit cards will also have a Visa or MasterCard logo on them. They do not function as a typical credit card, in that when you use them the amount you spend s deducted from your checking account instead of a credit line that you'll have to repay. You can use these cards online, at restaurants, at stores, and anywhere else you can use a regular credit card.

Whichever type of debit card you receive, if you're just opening a checking account with your bank, don't expect to go home with a card that day. Banks will usually mail the card to you. Expect delivery in several weeks at most. If you've already got a checking account with a bank, check their website or visit your local branch to find out how to get a debit card. Chances are it's pretty simple.

For ultimate protection, make sure to sign the back of your debit card and write "Please Request I.D." on it. That way, shopkeepers will be sure that the only person who can use your card it you.

How to Get a Debit Card by Opening a PayPal account

If, for whatever reason, you'd prefer not to open a bank account, another way to get a debit card is to open an account with PayPal. PayPal is an online service that fulfills many of the traditional roles previously filled only by banks.

You can use PayPal to make online bill payments, shop for things online, and to send or request money from others. PayPal is also a good option for shopping online, as it is a very secure, verified service. It's also great for sending money to loved ones, such as a kid in college. In addition, if you do any sort of business online, such as selling items on eBay or Etsy, PayPal is a great way to accept payments.

If you have a PayPal account, you also have the option to request a debit card that draws from your PayPal balance in the same way that a traditional bank debit card would draw from your checking account. Check the PayPal web site to see how to get a debit card in this manner.

You can then use this card anywhere you can use a regular debit card. This debit card feature, combined with the many ways to shop online using PayPal, make it a great option for those seeking the debit card experience through alternate means.