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How to use your debit or credit card

You can use your credit or debit card to pay in person in a shop, restaurant, bar or other retailer wherever the card scheme logos, American Express, MasterCard or Visa, are displayed.

Credit and debit cards can also be used to pay online or over the phone. You will be asked to provide your card details (the long number on the front of the card, expiry date and 3- or 4-digit security number).

Online retailers will often use further authentication, such as 3D Secure, which may ask you to input different characters from a password.

You can also set up recurring payments, for example for digital streaming of films or music.

You can withdraw cash with your debit card for free from most ATMs, and you can also ask for cashback when you spend a certain amount in a shop on your debit card, if your card issuer offers this service.

Generally, credit card issuers will charge a fee on cash withdrawals, and will charge interest from the date of withdrawal.


Retailers can currently add an additional fee to a customer’s bill when a credit or debit card is used for payment, but these cannot considerably exceed the retailer’s processing costs for the payment.

If you experience surcharging that seems excessive, you can report it to Citizens Advice.

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