Do You Need an SSN for a Debit Card?

by Louise Balle ; Updated July 27, 2017

Some Americans prefer to use a debit card instead of managing a credit card accounts since you can avoid running up a debt balance. If you need a debit card to use for purchases, payments and withdrawals, know all of the requirements in advance. One question you may have when getting a debit card is whether you need a Social Security number (SSN) to own one.

About Debit Cards

The debit card is similar to a credit card except that funds are linked to your own cash deposited in the bank instead of a credit account. The card closely resembles a credit card in size and looks but differs when it comes to the processing method. When you swipe the card for a debit card transaction you must enter a PIN to verify your ownership of the account and process the transaction.

Is an SSN Needed?

You do need to have a Social Security number to get a debit card. Debit cards link to bank accounts, which must be associated with a Social Security number, name and address of an individual. Before you can get a card and process debit card transactions, the bank must first verify this information per government banking regulations.

Employer ID Number

In some cases a bank will accept an employer identification number (EIN) in place of a Social Security number to establish a bank account and generate a debit card. This is most common for a business bank account where the business entity is the account holder instead of an individual. However, in some cases a bank representative may still require a personal guarantee from an individual representative of the business, which includes his SSN.


Some card accounts operate in a similar fashion as a debit card but aren’t directly linked to a checking account. For example, gift cards that come with Visa or MasterCard logos work like debit cards. Reloadable prepaid debit cards allow you to make regular deposits to a provider account to use the debit card for purchases. You still must provide a Social Security number to get a gift or prepaid debit card.

About the Author

Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.