Debit cards

A plastic card also known as plastic cash, which accesses the money in your bank or investment account to pay for purchases. The payment amount is transferred from your account to the merchant's account the same day. An advantage of a debit card is that you can't spend money you don't haveyou don't create debtbecause you aren't buying on credit; you are paying with funds in your bank or investment account. A disadvantage is that debit cards are not subject to many of the consumer legal rights that apply to credit cards regarding returns, resolution of errors, fraud or other issues.

ATM cards

These are used to get cash and complete other transactions at a bank machine or automatic teller machine (ATM). ATM cards are increasingly being used as debit cards as well. Like all debit cards, the money for these purchases is transferred out of your account within that day's business cycle.

Credit cards

A plastic card that provides you a revolving loanor credit limitbased on your agreement to pay at least the minimum amount due on the amount of credit you use by the payment date. A finance charge is applied to the outstanding balancethe amount you do not pay by the due date. You can avoid paying finance charges by paying your balance in fullthat is, paying off the outstanding revolving loan balance. However, revolving credit cards give you the flexibility of making minimum payments when that is most convenient for you. The cost of this convenience is the finance charge.

Co-branded credit cards

These are co-sponsored by two companies and have benefits and rewards designed specifically for their joint customers.