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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Debit Cards Are A Secret Financial Network

Debit Cards Are A Secret Financial Network

In the world of financial technology, debit cards are a fundamental piece of infrastructure.

Tyrese Griffin
Last updated: Nov 17, 2021 | Nov 16, 2021

Table of Contents

In the world of financial technology, debit cards are a fundamental piece of infrastructure.

Using a credit card is like using a payment card and a credit card at the same time. Debit cards lack the origination of loans, so you might assume they're less interesting. As a result, they've become an important part of the financial system, providing the fuel for a slew of fintech innovations (and funding them as well). Let’s see why many consider debit cards are a secret financial network.

What Is A Debit Card? What Are Its Features?

When a debit card is used, money is deducted immediately from the user's checking account. In addition to being able to pay for products and services, you can acquire cash from an automated teller machine or a merchant who will allow you to add an additional amount to an existing purchase with these "check cards" or "bank cards.".

To make transactions, debit cards eliminate the need to carry cash or physical checks, and they can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.

It may not be possible to make a substantial transaction using a debit card due to the daily limit.

Purchases made with a debit card can often be made with or without a personal identification number (PIN).

If you use your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM that is not linked with the bank that issued your card, you may be charged an ATM transaction fee.

Some debit cards offer reward programs that are similar to credit card reward programs, such as 1% back on all purchases, which is comparable to credit card reward programs.

Debit Cards Improved The Retail Banking Industry

Core deposit accounts for retail users were a dull business prior to the introduction of debit cards. The average cost of a checking account in the United States is around $350 per year, according to industry estimates. Net interest gained on one's balances and frequent visits to the bank branch have historically financed this practice, which is now being phased out. The economics of retail banking has been significantly changed by debit cards. Customers of banks with greater balances indirectly funded them.

The average American bank customer may spend up to $2,000 a month using their debit card. About $300 a year in interchange money, which is a lot more than their net interest contribution, is the result. The retail banking boom of the 1990s was made possible in large part by the widespread use of debit cards. For the previous 30 years, interest rates in Japan have been extremely low, making retail banking a poor business choice. Japanese banks and the government have made a determined effort over the past 15 years to transition the country from cash-based to electronic payments.

Debit Cards Introduced Rapid B2C Payments In The US

Debit Cards Introduced Rapid B2C Payments In The US

Most of this was pre-planned as a convenience for the operations. Rather than the customary 3-5 business days, the money would arrive in their bank account almost immediately. Fintechs might pitch their debit cards as a free alternative by charging a convenience fee for rapid payments. This allows their consumers to pay instantly for goods and services.

In the United States, debit card interchange is limited to 21 cents plus 0.05 percent of the transaction. Dodd-Frank exempted banks with deposits of less than $10 billion from the interchange cap. The fintech sector refers to institutions that fall within that cap as Durbin-exempt. Neobanks are software businesses that offer a mobile app that is strongly integrated with a bank's debit card. In the United States, launching a banking product takes literally years, tens of millions of dollars, and significant execution risk off of go-to-market.

Banks employ platforms to improve the quality of their software offerings. As a result, they use transaction-level data about the customer's business in order to better understand their needs.

Will Debit Cards Exist In The Future?

Will Debit Cards Exist In The Future

As long as debit cards are in use, they'll be a popular form of payment. Debit cards' future rests greatly on how cardholders of the future choose to conduct their business.


Cardholders are finding inventive methods to improve the payment process, benefiting not only themselves but also merchants and financial institutions, by connecting debit card information to mobile wallet applications on their mobile devices and using apps that monitor debit card usage. But don't be tricked into thinking that physical debit card payments would be phased out totally just because cardholders are switching to newer electronic modes of payment. Debit cards will continue to have a place in future purchases as long as consumers value the convenience and flexibility of a debit payment option - whether in the form of a physical card or a mobile wallet.

Tyrese Griffin | Tyrese started her education in the performing arts at the prestigious Alexander Hamilton Academy in Los Angeles. She returned to civilian life after serving in the United States Army as a tracked vehicle operator, and started writing short stories and screenplays, as well as directing short films and music videos. She has published six novels, which have sold over 200,000 copies, as well as audiobooks and short stories for anthologies, and has earned several awards.


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