Debit Cards vs. ATM Cards

Debit Cards vs. ATM Cards
A debit card and an ATM card are two completely different cards. Debit cards act exactly like cash or credit cards (without any interest since you are not “borrowing” money, but instead it comes from your checking account), while ATM cards are only used to withdraw money at an ATM. Here are some points to help you to better understand the differences between each:


  • Are usually accepted anywhere a major credit card is – since they will have a VISA or Mastercard logo.
  • Can replace check writing for purchases.
  • Can be used for purchases online.
  • Can be used to get cash back with purchases at grocery stores and some retailers.
  • Can be used to withdraw money at an ATM.
  • Can be used as a credit card (but is withdrawn from a checking account within 5 days).
  • Can be used to withdraw money from an ATM, either from a checking or savings account.
  • Has no monthly fee (at First Financial).*
  • Can only be tied to a checking account.


  • Only allow transactions made at ATMs.
  • Cannot be used to make purchases.
  • Is a card that is used only to withdraw money from a savings account.
  • Has a $3 monthly fee (at First Financial).**

dollar%20bills-resized-600Which is for me?

If you like the convenience of cash but are not a fan of carrying it or of writing checks, we recommend a debit card. If access to your money at ATMs is a must, but you cannot open a checking account – an ATM card will be your only option.

Learn more about First Financial’s First Access Debit Card, with no monthly fees!

*Debit Cards are available for First Financial members with Checking Accounts only. A First Financial membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.  A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. View full Rewards First program details at Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program. First Financial is Federally Insured by the NCUA.
**There is a $3 monthly fee for all ATM Cards and a non-First Financial ATM fee of $2 per transaction for the Silver tier of Rewards First.

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