It’s the simplest of bank cards – the V PAY card here in Luxembourg (formerly Bancomat). The card debits the purchases in real time and only if there is enough balance on the account, hence the name. No balance, no payment, and you get an ugly look from the person standing in line behind you.
It’s the ideal card if you want to keep an eye on your budget as it doesn’t allow you to overspend. A debit card is appropriate for younger consumers (in Luxembourg available as of 12 years of age) as it combines the right amount of security: PIN code and no overdrafts. In some countries it’s combined with the student ID of the college, which I believe is a nice way to kick off the financial education of young minds.
If you have a regular income or other assets, your bank might offer you a credit line on your current account, and in this case your debit card adopts some features of the credit card that we discuss in the next paragraph.