An ATM card gets its name from the Automated Teller Machine. It is issued by banks to their customers so that they have easier access to their money, whether it's from ATM machines, at physical bank branches, or in stores that accept payment from the cards. Customers can use cards to perform withdrawals, deposits or access their own account information.
What's On It
On the front of the ATM card is listed three vital pieces of information: Your name, your 16-digit account number, and the month that your card expires. On the back of the card is a magnetic strip that holds information about your card, as well as a place for you to put your signature.
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Many places will not accept the use of an ATM card without a signature on it. Next to the signature is a four-digit number that represents the last four digits of your account number, and then a three-digit number, representing your Card Security Code. The CDC is important for making online purchases.
Using the PIN Number
When using an ATM machine or making a purchase at a store, customers will be asked to first slide their card into a card reader. They will then be prompted to put in their four-digit pin number. The pin number is a password that the customer creates (either over the phone or in person at a bank branch) so that they will be the only one able to use the card. Make sure to write down your pin number and keep it in a safe place in case you forget it.
Activating the ATM Card
When you first get your ATM card in the mail, before you use it you must first activate it. To do this, call the toll free number located on a sticker on the actual card itself. It will ask you to type in your account number and PIN number. When you do, your account will now be activated and you can use your card.
Making an Online Payment
Customers can also use ATM cards to purchase goods online. To do this, enter your account number when prompted to on the website. You will then be asked to located the Card Security Code (or CSC) on the card to confirm your purchase. This is three-digit number located on the back of your card.
Security Issues to Consider
If you lose your ATM card, make sure to call your bank institution immediately to cancel your card. Thefts by people using someone else's ATM cards are common so it is best to make sure you cancel the card as quickly as you can. After the card is canceled, you will be sent another card in the mail that you will then need to activate before it can be used.