Visa Debit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Visa Electron.
The Visa Debit logo since 2015
The Visa Debit logo until 2014
The Visa Delta logo

Visa Debit is a major brand of debit card issued by Visa in many countries around the world. Numerous banks and financial institutions issue Visa Debit cards to their customers for access to their bank accounts. In many countries the Visa Debit functionality is often incorporated on the same plastic card that allows access to ATM and any domestic eftpos networks.


In many countries the Visa Debit functionality has been added to existing ATM cards to allow customers to use the card for internet and point of sales transactions.

United Kingdom[edit]

The first debit card in the United Kingdom was launched by Barclays in June 1987 under the "Connect" brand. NatWest followed with the "Switch" debit card in October 1988. Connect was later merged into Visa.[1]

The Visa Debit card was previously known as "Visa Delta" solely in the UK.[2] The Delta name began to be phased out in favour of the Visa Debit branding from September 1998.[3]

United States[edit]

Numerous banks issue Visa-branded debit cards linked to accounts. Some issuing banks call their cards "Visa check cards",[4] Cards allow for purchases at any merchant where any type of Visa card is accepted. Transactions are processed one of three ways. A signed transaction is processed through the regular Visa credit network.[4] PIN-based transactions, including ATM withdrawals, are processed through the Visa-owned Plus and Interlink networks.[4] Many retailers allow cash back with PIN-based transactions. Also, in line with other credit and debit purchases, transactions under $25 are exempt from requiring signatures or PINs.[4]


In Canada, virtually all domestic debit card transactions are processed over the Interac network, though several financial institutions have also permitted PIN-based ATM transactions internationally over the Visa-owned Plus network. However, Interac's dominance has left little room for alternative debit networks such as Visa or MasterCard to be used for domestic transactions.

Several Canadian financial institutions that primarily offer credit cards through the Visa network – namely CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD – currently offer Visa Debit, either through a dual-network co-branded card which also works on Interac (CIBC and TD),[5][6] or as a "virtual" card used alongside the customer's existing Interac debit card (RBC).[7] Both options ensure customers can perform point-of-sale transactions or ATM withdrawals as usual via Interac, but use the Visa network to process online, phone, and international transactions, none of which are well-supported by Interac. (The latter does have its own online payment service, Interac Online, which co-branded Visa cards are not eligible for, though that service has had relatively low retailer uptake.)

For the dual-network cards, in-person transactions within Canada are processed on the Interac network, but international transactions, as well as online and phone orders through Canadian retailers, are processed through the Visa network.[5][6] (However, Canadian retailers must specifically allow for Visa Debit transactions, even if they already accept Visa credit cards.)[8] "Virtual Visa Debit" works similarly; customers use their existing Interac debit cards for in-person transactions (and Interac Online) in Canada, but are also provided with a secondary "virtual" Visa card (i.e. card number, expiry, and CVV2) which can be used for online and phone transactions (but not point-of-sale, in Canada or internationally).[7]

Although Visa has in the past floated the prospect of competing directly with Interac in regards to point-of-sale transactions,[9] it does not appear to be pursuing that option at this time.


Germany's banking industry strongly favours its proprietary girocard technology that can be co-branded with Maestro or V-Pay, but not with the more powerful Debit MasterCard or Visa Debit.

A Visa credit card issued by ING-DiBa. The logo and BIN (454617) identify this card as a credit card although it is linked to a checking account (Girokonto).

However, over the course of the last years, certain financial institutions such as Consorsbank and ING-DiBa have started issuing cards that are linked to a checking account but use the Visa credit card protocols. These cards allow free cash withdrawals on ATMs owned by other banks; the issuing banks absorb the fees of the Visa network.

Market competition[edit]

The competitors to Visa Debit in the debit card market are Maestro and Debit MasterCard debit cards.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Sue Beenstock (16 July 1988). "AGENDA: Visa rethinks debit card strategy". Marketing. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Victoria Medhurst (13 August 1998). "Visa to back football for card rebranding". PR Week. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Visa USA Debit Cards
  5. ^ a b The Toronto-Dominion Bank. "Your new TD Access Card". Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  6. ^ a b Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. "CIBC Advantage Debit Card". Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  7. ^ a b Royal Bank of Canada. "Introducing RBC Virtual Visa Debit". Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  8. ^ Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "Credit/Debit Code of Conduct Protects Merchants in Dispute with Visa Debit". Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  9. ^ The Canadian Press (uncredited staff) (2009-03-30). "VISA CHALLENGES INTERAC’S DEBIT ‘MONOPOLY’". Retrieved 2012-07-17.