What types of bank cards exist - BBVA.es

We'll tell you what types of bank cards there are and what their main characteristics are.

Bank cards have become one of the objects we rely upon the most in our day-to-day lives. Now we'll describe the main types of bank cards: 

Credit cards

The way they work is simple: the card has a credit limit made available to you, which you can use to make purchases or withdraw money in cash.

The way that this credit gets paid back may also vary. In the following month the customer can pay back the full amount used, with no late interest, or it may also be possible to pay back the credit, along with interest, in multiple payments, selecting the amount or percentage that will be repaid every month. Issuance of credit cards is subject to prior authorization by the bank.

Usually, credit cards involve an issuance and maintenance fee. However, the terms and conditions vary between banks and the type of card selected.

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Revolving cards

Revolving cards are a type of credit card where the credit that is made available is paid back over time.

With “non-revolving” credit cards, the customer can pay back all of the money used during the month following this usage, with all of the costs charged on a specific day and without interest of any type. With revolving cards, all purchases are automatically paid back in multiple payments, with a regular monthly amount being paid or a percentage of the credit used, until the debt is paid back in full including interest and fees. In other words, the credit received is not paid back all at once, but as multiple payments during the months that follow.

The amount that will be repaid with each payment is established in advance, but with the cost always remaining within a minimum and maximum percentage range. This means that the customer will be able to select the amount or percentage to pay back each month. The amount paid back includes principal, interest and fees.

Revolving cards may involve credit card issuance and maintenance fees depending on each bank.

Debit cards

With a debit card, the customer only has access to the money deposited in an associated checking account at the bank.

This means that a debit card functions primarily as a means of payment and a way to withdraw money from ATMs, without allowing the customer to spend more money than he or she has deposited in the associated bank account.

In some cases debit cards may have an annual maintenance fee.

Pre-paid cards

Cards of this type, also referred to as cash cards, can only be used to spend the money that the customer has previously loaded onto them. In other words, unlike a credit or debit card, a pre-paid card does not ‘take’ money from the user's bank account, but instead only makes available the money that has been loaded onto the card itself.

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Since only the amount loaded in advance is available, pre-paid cards offer a simple way to control how much can be spent when using them. For example, they tend to work quite well for young people who are just learning how to manage their personal finances and control their spending.

Pre-paid cards can also be found in two modalities: physical and virtual. Both types work in a very similar way, but while a physical card can be used to make purchases at physical shops as well as online, a virtual card can only be used for Internet purchases.

In general, these pre-paid or cash cards do not require payment of any maintenance fees or commissions.

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