An international debit card is a prepaid debit card that can be used globally to withdraw money from automated teller machines (ATM) and to make purchases from most places that accept debit cards. Most of the cards are Visa® or MasterCard® brand, though for the most part they are handled by individual banks, and feature their hologram and logo for use anywhere that either of the two major companies' credit cards are accepted. The international debit card is known for its convenience and flexibility, and is often used by travelers or anyone else who needs a fast and easy way to electronically transfer funds.
As opposed to prepaid debit cards in the US, which are only available to US inhabitants, these debit cards can be issued to inhabitants of the majority of the world's nations and generally are not issued by US banks. Both cards, however, use the US Dollar as currency for exchange, which saves users from the US the hassle and fees of currency conversion. The cards usually can be purchased worldwide and are ready to use after activation. Unlike a traditional bank debit card, an international debit card does not require a checking account or any of the personal identification required for one and, unlike a credit card, does not require any sort of approval prior to use.
An international debit card, therefore, can be used by anyone; a person can also purchase a card and give it to someone else to use. It is also equipped for continuous use and a person can transfer money to the card as many times as desired, often from another card that has been linked to it. The ability to electronically transfer additional funds to the card makes the card a flexible alternative to traditional employee payrolls, as well as a fast way for parents to provide additional funds to their children traveling abroad.
The flexibility of these debit cards, however, has also led to many problems. Historically, the cards have been a source of debit card fraud due to the relative impossibility of determining whether or not a card has been stolen when it is used. Manufacturers have added numerous security features to ensure the safety of card use. Many cards now have the option of registration, where the user identifies him- or herself as the owner of the card and receives a personal identification number (PIN), and the possibility to use prepaid bank accounts that are linked to the international debit card.