Even though Visa might be one of the names on your debit or credit card, it is not Visa or Mastercard who decides on the card’s features, or what rewards are offered with that particular debit card. The card’s design, colour, logos and features are decided upon by the bank or financial institution issuing the card. Each bank, financial institution or retailer offers its own custom debit cards to attract new customers, which is why there is such a wide range of Visa debit cards to choose from in Australia.
These are some debit card features to think about before deciding which Visa card may be the right one for you to choose:
Most debit cards are issued free by the banks and financial institutions when you open a transaction bank account with them. There are usually no account-keeping fees or monthly fees to worry about with a debit card. However, an overdrawn fee can be charged if you accidentally let your card go into the red. These overdrawn fees can be quite substantial, in the range of $30 to $50. Sometimes there’s even an overdrawn daily fee which is charged each day the card remains overdrawn. It certainly pays to keep a debit card firmly in the black! Fees can also be charged for using the debit card overseas, or for withdrawing funds from an overseas ATM.
Rewards, frequent flyer points and cash back offers
Rewards points, frequent flyer points and cash back schemes are offered to customers to encourage spending using their card. Rewards were once only offered with credit cards, but recently more debit cards are being offered with rewards for spending too. These rewards vary from cash back offers, to airline reward points, frequent flyer points, special offers on PayTV and subscriptions, or exclusive offers on concert or movie tickets. It pays to compare the different rewards schemes and find one which gives you the maximum benefit without having to change your natural spending pattern. Try to align the frequent flyer points you earn with your favourite airline, and choose a supermarket offering rewards points that can be converted to points with that same airline too.
Withdrawal and spending limits
Many Visa cards are linked to bank accounts that have daily cash withdrawal and transaction limits. For example, often there’s a $1,000 a day cash withdrawal limit at ATMs, or there may be an overall $1,000 a day transaction limit. These daily limits can often be increased by request to your bank either through online banking or a mobile app. If it’s not possible to increase your limit, you may have to split up your withdrawals or payments over different days.
Security and purchase protection
Make sure your Visa debit card can be instantly locked via internet banking or a mobile app. If your card is lost or stolen, it is preferable to be able to do this right away without having to call a card fraud hotline. Compare your Visa debit card's additional purchase protection options as well. If a product you buy is stolen or harmed in transit, a Visa card's added protection can provide you a refund. Some protection plans also extend the warranty period provided for a purchased item.