So you know what a debit card is - and you might be thinking that it sounds awfully similar to an EFTPOS card. Although they are very similar, there are some key differences between these two payment methods which might affect which one is the right piece of plastic for your wallet.
We’ve broken them down below...
First off, let’s start at the beginning: just what do we mean by EFTPOS?
The acronym stands for electronic funds transfer at point of sale, and it’s basically the electronic payment system that allows you to use your plastic at the checkout. You can have an EFTPOS card, but it can also refer to the terminal which you use in a shop to make a payment with your debit or credit card.
It’s the most common system used in Australia - so chances are, if you’re getting cash out or paying for your shopping with card, you’re using the EFTPOS system. However, the cards themselves, which we are focusing on in this guide are getting less and less common.
In some senses, a debit card and EFTPOS card are very similar - the most important similarity is that they both usually use funds that are available in your bank account, without drawing on any form of credit.
But to make an informed decision about which is the right option for your wallet, it’s probably more important to know what sets EFTPOS apart from a debit card. Here are some of the key differences:
One of the big differences between EFTPOS and debit cards, is that debit cards run on either the MasterCard or Visa payment system. This means that your debit card can be used anywhere these systems are accepted, including overseas, online, over the phone and in stores. It also means your transactions are protected by Visa or MasterCard safety measures.
It also gives you the ability to make contactless payments - and that technology is on the rise, quickly leaving EFTPOS cards behind.
EFTPOS, on the other hand, runs on its own system, which is generally limited to Australia. You usually can’t use it over the phone, online or overseas and it doesn’t come with a contactless option.
Although using other systems offers added security, the EFTPOS system is by no means unsafe. As long as you keep your PIN secure, review your bank statement regularly and alert your bank straight away if there’s anything fishy going on, your EFTPOS card should be safe to use.
The long and short of it is that EFTPOS is essentially a more basic version of a debit card.
Have you ever been standing at the counter, whipped out your plastic, and been stumped by the question, “cheque, savings or credit?” Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and now, we’re here to clear up the confusion once and for all.
The bottom line is that aside from the system the payment is processed through - EFTPOS vs MasterCard or Visa - there isn’t a huge difference, no matter which button you press.
Debit cards offer more flexibility than an EFTPOS card, and these days, they’re a pretty standard addition to any financially savvy wallet. So find the best fit for you by heading over to our comparison page to compare debit cards side-by-side.