Home Banking ATM Banking What is an ATM Card? How to use your ATM card?

What is an ATM Card? How to use your ATM card?

ATM Card

Ever imagined the power of a  85.60 × 53.98 mm plastic card, whose value can be from Rs. 0 and  can run up to lakhs and crores? ATM card introduced by Barclays in London in 1967 is that powerful tool which has changed the entire banking system in the world. It has relieved millions of users from standing in long queues in the banks. Banking is now done at the fingertips 24X7.

What is an ATM card?

ATM card can be used for cash withdrawal, balance inquiry, etc. It can be used at ATM (Automatic Teller Machine), a computerized machine. Almost every bank has its own ATM centres. The card can be used across all banks ATM. Currently there are 92588 ATM present all over the country. It is issued by the bank where you open a new current or a savings account or have existing account(s). Only one card is issued per account. The bank charges yearly fee for the card. The card has a unique 16 digit number on it. It also has a validity date till which the card can be used. The card has several safety features to prevent misuse or tampering like a signature panel, magnetic strip, user image etc.

How to use ATM card?

The card needs to be activated before the first use. This can be done in two ways:

ATM centers

The card can be activated only at the same bank ATM (E.g.: SBI ATM card can be activated only at SBI ATM centers). First, the card is inserted. The machine asks for the PIN. It’s a 4 digit code provided by the bank. On feeding the number, the machine asks to reset the PIN. You create your own PIN. The card gets activated.

Phone banking

The toll free bank number needs to be dialed. On selecting the card activation option, details such as card number, expiry date, date of birth etc. will be asked. An activation code might be sent to your mobile number. On entering this activation code on your phone, ATM PIN generation option comes where you can put your own PIN. On confirmation, the card gets activated.

For cash withdrawal from ATM, insert the ATM card. Enter the new PIN. Select the account type (current/savings). Enter the amount in multiples of 100. Collect the cash, card and receipt.

Loss or theft of card

In case the card is lost, stolen, misused, or damaged, it can be deactivated by calling bank customer centers. In this case, a new card can be obtained from the bank branch.

Safe use of ATM cards

ATM card is a very useful tool for banking services. Do not share passwords with anyone and cover the screen while entering PIN to assure card safety. Life becomes much easier by using these technologies and it provides a good overall experience for the user. We need to make the best out of it!

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Rijal Kadakia has great passion in writing financial topics. Hailing from a Gujarati middle-class family, Rijal has realized the value of money and got insights into financial nuances He believes in the power of knowledge sharing. Apart from active blogger, he has worked for pharma magazines like "Credence". He graduated in Pharmaceutical sciences from University of Mumbai and has worked in the field of healthcare analytics before joining an MBA school.


  1. This article has really helped in knowing more about the ATM card we use. All we know is to swipe or insert the card to draw money but this article speaks more than that. It speaks about the technical aspects related to it and also talks about safety measures. All in all, an educative one!

  2. ATM is a plastic card used to withdraw money from automatic tell machine (ATM machine). . To use an ATM card, you first need to activate it. The card can be activated only at the issuer’s bank ATM, irrespective of location. Some banks also let users activate the card via phone banking. Many banks issue ATM card that can also act has Debit Card that can be used to make purchases. An ATM issues by the bank where you have opened a bank account.

  3. It is really amazing how the much coveted ATM card has changed our way of life. The ATM card has greatly influenced a common man’s views on the nuances of financial transactions. A tiny card alongy with a four digit code is saving our timey like anything. Thanks to the evolving technology, the ATM card is gradually increasing its usefulness. The above article throws light on the multiple facets of an ATM card. A real informative piece!

  4. Once again with the evolution of this technology,human mind has proved its supremacy. A plastic card which seemed to be of no use has been turned into as the most essential piece in almost everyone’s wallet today. Just a four digit pin to remember and you are with the required money in your hands. transactions have been made a child’s play. Really, thanks to this technology and this article too which compiles all the necessary details which can be helpful to a new user and an existing user too.

  5. Great job Rijal! People today use technologies without even knowing the basics of the same. This is one good piece of information that tells us about the ATMs cards, which are used by almost everyone. ATM cards serve numerous functions and these are not mere instruments of getting cash. Looking forward to more of your articles.

  6. It is happy to understand the real usage, risks and advantages of ATM cards. So many people are still on dilemma whether to use the card or not. This blog really helped to understand what to do if I lose my card. The tips to save card quoted above are so useful! Nice read, simple but useful.

  7. ATM cards are surely the most powerful plastic money in the market. Their values can run from simple three figure to many crores. It surely has the validity date and the magnetic strip and the specimen signature of the card holder. The technical aspects has been very well described. As these cards are now a days used for a multiple function, their safety should be prioritise.

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