Some Americans prefer to use a debit card instead of managing a credit card accounts since you can avoid running up a debt balance. If you need a debit card to use for purchases, payments and withdrawals, know all of the requirements in advance. One question you may have when getting a debit card is whether you need a Social Security number (SSN) to own one.
About Debit Cards
The debit card is similar to a credit card except that funds are linked to your own cash deposited in the bank instead of a credit account. The card closely resembles a credit card in size and looks but differs when it comes to the processing method. When you swipe the card for a debit card transaction you must enter a PIN to verify your ownership of the account and process the transaction.
Is an SSN Needed?
You do need to have a Social Security number to get a debit card. Debit cards link to bank accounts, which must be associated with a Social Security number, name and address of an individual. Before you can get a card and process debit card transactions, the bank must first verify this information per government banking regulations.
Employer ID Number
In some cases a bank will accept an employer identification number (EIN) in place of a Social Security number to establish a bank account and generate a debit card. This is most common for a business bank account where the business entity is the account holder instead of an individual. However, in some cases a bank representative may still require a personal guarantee from an individual representative of the business, which includes his SSN.
Some card accounts operate in a similar fashion as a debit card but aren't directly linked to a checking account. For example, gift cards that come with Visa or MasterCard logos work like debit cards. Reloadable prepaid debit cards allow you to make regular deposits to a provider account to use the debit card for purchases. You still must provide a Social Security number to get a gift or prepaid debit card.
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