Debit Cards Used in Different Countries

Debit cards find usage in numerous financial transactions – be it purchasing goods or paying utility bills. The convenience of not having to carry cash and an increased number of automated banking machines has made debit cards popular. Different types of debit cards are used in different countries. Although the most widely used brands worldwide are Visa and MasterCard (International cards), there are many other domestic cards that are accepted within a particular nation.

Here, we have listed some debit cards popular in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, New Zealand, the US and the UK.

EFTPOS in Australia and New Zealand
The EFTPOS is the electronic payment system used in Australia and New Zealand for debit card payments. EFTPOS technology was introduced in the United States in 1981 and was quickly adopted by many countries.

Debit cards are the most popular non-cash payment methods used at POS (Point of Sale) and via ATMs in Australia. Debit cards issued by Australian banks are known with different names. They include Keycard, Handycard, Flexicard, Cashcard and Accesscard. They cannot be used outside Australia. They can be used, if they carry logos of Mastero, MasterCard or Visa in which non-Australian transactions can be processed through those networks.

EFTPOS is very popular in New Zealand and the system of payment is used by about 60% of retail transactions held in New Zealand. In 2006, five billion EFTPOS payments are said to have been processed while at the beginning of 2012, the number was about 10 billion.

Interac in Canada
Interac debit payment (IDP) is the major debit card payment system operating in Canada. It was introduced in 1994 and within a few years, it got so popular that many transactions in Canada are being done using debit cards than cash. In recent years, Interac online has allowed customers to use debit cards for online payments.

UnionPay in China
UnionPay is a bank card association established in 2002 under the approval of State Council and the People’s Bank of China. By 2004, the network of UnionPay has covered countries and regions including America, Europe, Asia Pacific region, Africa and Australia. UnionPay cards are not only accepted in China, but also in over 135 other countries.

Carte Bleue in France
Carte Bleue is a debit card operated only in France. Unlike Visa, Mastero and Electron debit cards, this card does not require authorization from card holder’s bank. Carte Bleue does not operate outside France; however Carte Bleue Visa can be outside France for which the card holder should pay a small amount as annual fee.

A card with Visa or MasterCard logo is often called ‘Carte Bleue Internationale’; otherwise it is ‘Carte Bleue Nationale’. When you use your Carte Bleue, the microchip of the card verifies and authenticates the transaction and hence the payment is made through the PIN.

EC in Germany
EC is Electronic Cash debit card system operated in Germany. It originally comes from European checking system called Eurocheque. These debit cards when combined with Mastero logo are referred to as EC/Mastero cards.

RuPay in India
Debit cards have a limited popularity in India and until recently, most transactions were being executed using cash. Banks in India issue Visa and Mastero debit cards, for which the transactions are routed through Visa and Mastero networks rather than directly through the issuing bank.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched RuPay debit card in 2012. It is India’s own domestic card from the payment network and is accepted across the country. NPCI will soon provide RuPay debit card payment service that will be accepted abroad, across various channels like POS, the Internet, mobile, etc.

Laser in Ireland
Laser debit card payment scheme is operational in Ireland. The scheme was introduced in 1996 and is maintained and operated by Laser Card Services Ltd. By 2010, there were three million Laser cards in circulation in the country. It was primarily an electronic point of sale debit card, but later it enabled online purchases, telephone and other bill payments. The Laser cards that were issued in 2008 or later have been co-branded with international brand Mastero allowing the card holders to use it outside Ireland.

Debit cards in USA
In the United States, most debit cards are issued by the interbank networks such as NYCE, MAC, STAR, PULSE, etc. They are regional and typically work at any ATM/POS terminal. For example, a NYCE debit card will work at a STAR – POS terminal or ATM, and vice versa. Many debit cards are issued with logo of Visa or MasterCard or American Express.

In United States, FSA debit cards are issued to access tax-favored spending accounts such as FSA (Flexible Spending Account), HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) and HSA (Health Saving Account). Mostly FSA debit cards are used for medical expenses, some of them are also issued for dependent care and transportation expenses.

Debit cards in UK
In the UK, Barclays was the first UK bank to issue Visa Delta card under the Connect brand in 1987. In 1992, MasterCard launched Mastero brand for its international usage. Debit cards common in circulation are Mastero (the erstwhile Switch), Debit Mastercard, Visa Debit, Visa Electron.

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