Return money to debit cards

For vacation and at home: what you need to know about credit and debit cards!

The summer vacation is just around the corner, the travel restrictions are slowly being lifted, and the anticipation of the vacation is growing. And the preparations begin: the hotel room needs to be booked, a car on site would be nice, you might want to pay for a few souvenirs with your card when you go shopping on holiday and of course you also need a little cash. Essential for your preparations and activities at the holiday destination: your debit and credit card. But what is which card is actually suitable for?

What is a debit card?

Many people do not know the term “debit card”, but you definitely have one in your wallet: your girocard! According to the Deutsche Bundesbank, around 100 million of these cards are in circulation in Germany, and around 48 percent of sales in stationary retail are paid for with them. The girocard, known in the past as an EC card, is the most widely used debit card in this country, it can be used everywhere in Germany for paying and withdrawing money. In addition to the girocard logo, the logos of international card companies such as Mastercard (maestro / MasterCard Debit) or VISA (VISA Debit / VPAY) are often applied to the card. If you see these logos abroad at the cash register or at the ATM, you can also use your card there.

How are debit and credit cards different?

Debit and credit cards differ, among other things, in how they are billed. If you pay with your girocard at the till or withdraw cash from the machine, your giro account will be debited directly. In contrast, credit cards are usually not tied to the current account. The sales are collected on a separate credit card account and are usually due in one amount once a month. However, there are also credit cards that lead directly to the debiting of a credit loaded onto the card account (prepaid cards).

Withdraw money from the machine and pay at the cash register - both types of cards can be used. And: if you have an NFC chip on your card, you can also make contactless payments. For sales of up to 50 euros, this usually works without entering a PIN. You can tell whether this is possible with your card by the wave symbol on the card. You can now withdraw cash while shopping: You can use the girocard to withdraw an amount of up to 200 euros at many supermarket checkouts, drugstores and some hardware stores or petrol stations.

Which card can I use to book a hotel or rental car?

When booking a hotel, you can generally use both debit and credit cards, and often only credit cards when renting a car. Important for car rental: Even if you have reserved with the girocard, you usually have to present a full credit card on site in order to be able to leave the deposit on site. You should definitely know your credit card PIN, otherwise the amount on the credit card cannot be blocked.

Paying by smartphone: cards in your digital wallet

If you want to pay with your smartphone, you can store both a debit and a credit card in your virtual wallet on your smartphone. With both cards, sales can usually be tracked directly in the wallet. If it is an Android smartphone, you can authorize your disposals up to 50 euros, usually without entering a PIN. For larger amounts, you can authorize the payment by entering a PIN on the merchant terminal or using biometric methods such as fingerprints or facial recognition on the smartphone. With Apple smartphones, facial recognition or fingerprints are always required to authorize your payment.

What are the different types of credit cards?

Depending on the equipment variant of the credit card (e.g. silver, gold or platinum), certain additional services such as insurance or services, bonus programs or discounts are sometimes offered. Above all, however, one differentiates between types of credit according to the type of billing:

Charge card

In Germany, so-called charge cards are most widespread. The transactions are collected by the card company on the credit card account and are usually debited from the checking account once a month. The cardholder receives a certain amount of deferred payment.

Revolving Credit Card

The revolving credit card is widespread mainly in the Anglo-American countries, but also increasingly in Germany. The sales are to be paid at the time the monthly billing is due or can be repaid gradually in installments. Debit interest is then charged on the unpaid portion of the liabilities.

Prepaid card

But there are also credit cards that have to be “topped up” (prepaid card) before they can be used. The desired amount of money is transferred to the card and saved as a credit. When paying, this credit is reduced by the purchase amount. The prepaid card therefore has no (real) credit function. Payments are only possible if there is sufficient credit.

Prepaid credit cards are suitable, among other things, for young people on trips, as they cannot spend more than what was loaded onto the credit card. And if things get tight for the child, parents can remotely book an amount onto the card.

Debit credit card

If you pay with this card, your current or credit account will be charged directly. So it is not a "real" credit card. You can also use this card to make payments and withdraw money. If you want to book a rental car, it is best to make sure in advance that you can leave this card for the deposit.

Costs for using the debit and credit card abroad

The price for withdrawals at ATMs or for cashless payments with a credit or debit card abroad varies depending on the bank and the country of travel. The amount available is converted into euros at the current rate of the respective currency and debited from the account. Outside the euro zone, a percentage of sales is often added as the price for foreign assignments. Get an overview of the costs in the list of prices and services of the card-issuing bank.

An important tip for your next trip to a country outside the euro zone: Have the cash out amount displayed at the ATM in local currency and not converted into euros. Local ATMs or electronic cash registers usually charge additional fees for the conversion offer, and the exchange rate is often less favorable. Important for your girocard: If you want to use the card abroad, it may be necessary for security reasons to activate it in advance by the bank.

By the way: you should check credit card statements and account statements regularly, especially after a trip, and inform the bank or credit card company immediately in the event of irregularities that indicate fraud.

You can read more about debit cards and their functions hereExperienced.

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