Banking can get confusing with PINs, account numbers, card numbers, and routing numbers. You may ask yourself, “Is a debit card number the same as an account number?”
Debit card numbers and account numbers are two different things. While a debit card might pay for things from your account, they are separate entities. One is a number you find on your physical debit card, while the other identifies your bank or financial account.
Let’s dive into what each number is used for and how you can differentiate them.
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Debit Card Numbers vs. Account Numbers
A debit card number is not the same as an account number. A debit card number is a 16-digit number on the front or back of a debit card. On the other hand, an account number is a unique sequence of numbers and letters identifying a specific financial account. Account numbers can be found on a bank statement, check, or from your debit card number.
Using Your Debit Card Number
You can easily find your debit card number on the front or back of your debit card. Making purchases in person doesn’t require you to use your debit card number as you swipe the card or insert the chip.
However, you will use your debit card number when making a purchase online. You need to type out the entire 16-digit number, the expiration date, and the 3-digit security code. You can find all of these numbers on either the front or back of the debit card.
The debit card number provides information about the account and card issuer. Every debit card number is linked to one specific checking account; however, there are no identifying numbers on the debit card that could lead to the specific checking account if stolen.
Keeping Your Debit Card Number Safe
If your debit card is stolen, the best thing to do is cancel the card immediately. Your checking account would be safe since the debit card number isn’t linked to your account number. You would then need to order a new debit card for that account. This new card will have a new debit card number.
Other ways to keep your debit card number safe are checking your bank statements often and reporting any unknown charges immediately. You can also set up account alerts through your bank to email or text you if fraudulent activity occurs.
You should only use ATMs associated with banks and change your personal identification number (PIN) every few months.
Using your debit card number online can be tricky as some shopping websites are susceptible to hackers and scammers. It’s best to use a credit card online so if you are a victim of fraud, it’s easier to get your money back.
Most companies allow you to refute fraudulent online charges, whereas if your debit card number gets stolen, you could lose all the money in your bank account.
Using Your Account Number
Almost all financial institutions use account numbers. Every financial transaction involves at least two account numbers: one that indicates where the money is going and one that indicates where the money is coming from.
Each bank’s account numbers are slightly different in how they work and kept secret for security reasons, but most bank account numbers range from eight to twelve digits. Each account number will give information about a specific bank account.
For example, if you have a checking account and a savings account, these would have different account numbers.
When setting up direct deposit, scheduling electronic payments, or sending and receiving payments person to person, you will use your account number. If someone gets ahold of your account number, they could order fraudulent checks or withdraw money from your account.
Never write down your account number, destroy voided checks, don’t share your account information, and be wary of financial apps you use. Personal finance apps can make managing your money accounts easier, but they can also be a target for scammers. Make sure any apps you use are legitimate.
Finding your account number
You can find your account number on bank statements, in-person, online, or on paper checks.
There are three sets of numbers on the bottom of a paper check. The first set is the routing number, the second set is the account number, and the third set is the check number.
Some banks allow you to find the account number online if you use an online banking account or app. You can also call your bank or go in person to ask – just be prepared to present proof of identity, such as your social security number or driver’s license.
Summary: Debit card number vs. account number
In summary, debit card numbers and account numbers are not the same, but both are very important. It’s wise not to write these numbers down and commit them to memory. Do not share them with someone you do not know and trust.
It’s important to be careful when using these numbers online, and always keep a close eye on all your accounts to keep yourself and your money safe.