Can you use a debit card to make purchases right away, or do you have to withdraw money?

My daughter is a student (16) and she has a debit card. I opened a savings account for her and the manager gave her a debit card but didn't really explain anything. She says she wants to buy apps from the app store. She's never used the card before. Does she have to go to the bank and withdraw money first,

My daughter is a student (16) and she has a debit card. I opened a savings account for her and the manager gave her a debit card but didn't really explain anything. She says she wants to buy apps from the app store. She's never used the card before. Does she have to go to the bank and withdraw money first, or is the money from her savings account already on the card? How can you tell?

Other answer:

Clive:
A debit card is directly connected to the account. I've never heard of one connected to a savings account. Are you sure it's a savings account, and not a current account (or if you're American, a checking account)?

But anyway, what using a debit card does is take the money directly out of the account it's connected with. There is no such thing as "money on the card" unless it's a prepaid debit card – there is no money on it, it's a way of spending directly from that account. There is no need to take money out first – it IS a way of withdrawing money, the same as writing a cheque (or check) or going to the bank to withdraw it.

If she uses it to buy an app from the app store, the money will come directly out of her account and show up as a withdrawal. And at 16, she isn't an adult who can go into overdraft, so if there isn't enough in the account, the bank will refuse payment and she doesn't get her app. (At least that's what is SUPPOSED to happen when the store electronically checks with the bank!)

I do it all the time. I go to the supermarket, I pay with my debit card at the checkout, and it shows up on my bank statement. Same with online sites – my Mum mentioned yesterday a CD she wants for Christmas, so I'll buy that from Amazon, and a payment to Amazon will appear on my bank statement as a withdrawal.

STEVEN F:
Using a debit card IS withdrawing money from you checking account.
You should NEVER have a debit account linked to a savings account. BY LAW, there is a limit to the number of withdraws from a savings account per month.

Note: If you are old enough to have a daughter, this shouldn't be news to you.

Allen:
Usually the money in the savings account is connected to the debit card. You can tell by looking at your bank account's online site.
hotstuffktr:
She can use the card electronically like a credit card – except it will draw from the account the card is associated with.
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