Debit cards are connected to your bank account, and are very versatile in nature, as you can typically use them to withdraw cash from ATMs, pay for goods and services in person and online, pay bills and and even transfer money from one account to another. Theoretically, debit cards issued from a bank in one state can be easily used in others, though some stipulations and conditions may apply. There are some factors you'll want to consider before using your debit card in another state.
Using a Debit Card
While debit cards can be used just about anywhere, some places issue a nominal surcharge for their use. Additionally, if you use your debit card to withdraw money from an ATM outside your state, or from a machine associated with a bank other than your card-issuing institution, be prepared to pay service fees, which can be as high as several dollars per transaction.
Traveling with a Debit Card
If you use your debit card while on travel, you may find it unexpectedly declined, even when you know for sure that funds are available. This may happen if your bank has a diligent fraud protection program in which unusually high-volume usage or frequent purchases are being made outside your state. You can avoid this issue by notifying your bank in advance of travel, so your spending won’t be flagged as suspicious. If your account is frozen during travel, a call to the customer service division of your bank can usually clear up the matter in a few hours.
Online Debit Card Use
If you use your debit card for making online purchases, be aware that purchases made to companies outside your home country can also send up a red flag for your bank, and may be denied or result in your account being temporarily suspended. Much like being proactive in notifying your bank if you’re traveling, you might also notify your bank if you’re making international purchases using your debit card. This will help you avoid hassles and unexpected cancellations.
When in Doubt, Ask Your Bank
Ask your bank about when and where your debit card can be used. Some banks put a limit on the amount of cash you can withdraw from an ATM in a 24-hour period. Additionally, some small and independent bank branches with unfamiliar names or logos might appear suspicious to merchants outside your geographic range. To protect yourself financially when traveling, it's a good idea to have more than one card on hand to ensure you don’t get stuck someplace without access to cash or credit.
- Trip Savvy: Using Your Credit Card Overseas
- Wells Fargo: Debit Card Questions
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- Visa. "How to Use an ATM Overseas." Accessed July 20, 2020.
- The Ohio State University. "How Economics Helps You Save Money When Traveling Internationally." Accessed July 20, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. "Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards." Accessed July 20, 2020.
Lisa McQuerrey has been an award-winning writer and author for more than 25 years. She specializes in business, finance, workplace/career and education. Publications she’s written for include Southwest Exchange and InBusiness Las Vegas.