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ATM Card vs Check Card

Travel Forums General Talk ATM Card vs Check Card

1. Posted by pmoylan (Budding Member 31 posts) 10y

Can someone please explain to me the differences between the two? Are there any distinct advantages or disadvantages in choosing one over the other for use in foreign travel.

Thanks in advance.


2. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

Hi Pat

ATM Card - use to withdraw cash at atm machines and some cards will be able to do so worldwide.

Check (Cheque) Card - a guarentee that a check is good for an amount up to a certain point - in UK mine is a £100 cheque guarentee card.

Many cards are 2 in 1 - my atm and cheque card are. I would have thought the ATM card is better as you can only write a cheque for the currency of the country you are in and l know in the UK cheques being accepted at shop counters is being phased out. I only use cheques now to post bills off.

Hope this helps.


3. Posted by pmoylan (Budding Member 31 posts) 10y

Hi Heather,

Thanks for responding. I'm still not sure I quite understand the purpose of a check card. When you refer to "writing a check", it almost sounds like the check card is used only for identification purposes. If I have a check card but still have to carry my checkbook around to write a check, how does the check card come into play? What value does it have? Is it that the merchant (or whomever) simply scans your checkcard to make sure you have sufficient funds in your account to ensure that your check is good?

Somehow I was under the impression that one of the two cards was "safer" in that one or the other had built in safeguards that if your cards were stolen or someone found them and also had your PIN number, the amount of money that could be taken from your account was limited.

Like everyone else with these types of questions, I'm trying to discover the best way to access my account in the US from both a convenience standpoint and at the same time minimizing related fees while in Ireland for an extended period of time.

Thanks again for your help, Heather. You're always very good about responding to everyone's inquiries and we appreciate that.


4. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

Hi Pat

A cheque card to me anyway is a guarentee card from your bank that that they will pay the person to whom the cheque is made out a certain amount of money ie £100 (even if you do not have sufficent funds but that is a problem then between you and your bank!). You need to use the cheque card in conjuntion with your cheque book so you would need both to make the card valid if handing a store a cheque as a form of payment.

An atm card is one where you with draw cash from a bank machine with a pin number and usually you can only withdraw limited funds per day £200-£300 therefore has a safeguard of sorts. Most ATM cards will also be a visa debit card or switch which lets you pay by card without having to withdraw cash - in Northern Ireland all store cashiers will now ask you to enter your pin number as a form of identification now instead of signing for your goods.

I hope this makes sense - l dont know if this is any good in helping you decide on how to transfer funds between US and Ireland. I know in the UK most people recommend Nationwide Flexi Account as you can withdraw cash around the world with no fees - maybe there is a similar account in the states? If you do a search on the threads lm sure you will pull somethin up as l know these questions have been asked before!



5. Posted by grozelle (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

I know, this is a little late in postings.

In the U.S.
Atm Restricted card can be only used at the banks atm.

Atm unrestricted that carries the NYCE or Star Logo can be used at Merchants and atms that take these cards by enter a pin.

Some Atm cards also have a Maestro logo or Visa plus logo. These can be used at Merchants that take these cards and you would enter your pin.

CheckCards/Debit cards with either a Visa or MasterCard symbol. Can be used at merchants that take those cards by signing for the purchase and at Merchants that take NYCE or Star Logo by entering a pin number and at atms that take MasterCard, Visa, Nyce, Cirrus, Plus, Visa Interlink.

Some CheckCards/Debit cards also have a Maestro or Visa plus logo. These can be used at Merchants that take these cards and you would enter your pin.

I would recommend using a check card. This way you can use were either Visa or MasterCard is accepted. Some banks to require you to activate your card for transactions outside of the U.S. Also, Notify your bank that you will be traveling if your banks does not require activations. This way your bank knows to expect unusual transactions.

Some banks will charge you fees in addition to MasterCard or Visa currency conversion fee.

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 8, 2006, at 12:56 PM by grozelle ]