is there a difference between a card that is labeled ATM card and a debit card for use in at ATM in eastern Europe?
A bank ATM is a bank ATM is a bank ATM, and it being in eastern Europe does not change the machine. One would assume that either of these cards would work at ATMs, check with your bank. Not trying to be funny here, if there is a more involved issue than that then the question needs to be more specific and provide more information.
The plastic card that I have used all over Europe, including eastern Europe, has "DEBIT" printed on it along with "VISA". It is tied to a local credit union here in the US. I have never had one that said ATM on it.
At one time there was a card issued that was labeled as an ATM card and it could only be used at an ATM. Could not be used as a debit card. Thirty years ago or more I had one when ATMs first came into usage. I have not seen an ATM only cards in years. There have been postings here from some who claim that their bank still issues an ATM only card. Whether it is an ATM only card or a debit card, it will work fine in Europe, eastern Europe. Remember nearly all of the people who use ATMs are locals who like the same conveniences as us in getting access to their money. It is not the American Tourist Machine card for money.
A Visa or MasterCard logo makes your debit card compatible with most ATMs in Europe and worldwide. There are some machines without these logos that are only for withdrawals by that bank's own members.
On the face of my bank card it indicates ATM and no mention of debit possibilities. On the back, it reveals networks, . I re-read the bank's information and it's a combination ATM/debit card.
I can only try to clear up some of the confusion. First, forget terms like ATM, Debit, and credit. Unless you there is a firm definition, the terms are worthless and subject to the interpretation of the person using them.
A card issued by your Bank and tied to your Bank account can be used several ways depending on how your bank sets it up. If your card has a Visa or Mastercard logo on the front and you are issued a PIN, then the card likely is able to be used at an ATM, as a Point of Sale (POS) card, and as a Credit Card, as debit, Credit, or either. The card also then likely has logos of networks that accept the card: Plus, Cirrus, Shazam, Accel Exchange, etc. If your card only shows networks, then it likely is intended only to be used in ATMs or limited POS devices. Using your card in an ATM means the card must be compatible with the Network of the ATM, but most ATMs connect with multiple or sister networks, not sure I ever found an incompatible machine.
As for safety, I disagree with a comment above, if your card is intended to be used as a credit/debit/atm and has a Visa or MC logo, then typically your liability is limited at $50 or close to that. In the few times I had issues, I had no liability. Further, your bank imposes daily limits, limiting activity. I can also mention that fraud detection activity is pretty good, if there are odd transactions you are notified. Someone "cleaning out your account" is a remote possibility.
My Bank of America ATM card does not have Visa or MasterCard logo. It is not a debit card but works at overseas ATM cash machines. (BofA has a 3% foreign exchange fee).
Debit cards look like credit cards—they will have a Visa® or
MasterCard® logo on them. However, they are definitely not credit
cards. Unlike debit cards, ATM cards do not have the Visa® or
MasterCard® logo and, in most cases, may not be used to make store
There are most certainly ATM only cards still out there. I have one. I'd guess they are issued by small and local banks (I don't use a nationally known bank). But the networks are shown on the back and MasterCard and Star are part of the accepted networks. It works just fine in Europe. This may shock a lot of people, but there are still a lot of local banks out there.
Debit cards, by definition, are also usable for purchases that withdraw directly from your account. It is not a "credit card" by definition since you are paying for the purchase at that time, versus buying it on credit with a promise to pay it back later.
In my experience, debit/ATM/whatever cards are much less frequently used for direct purchases in western Europe than in North America. Many of these cards will charge an extra fee for foreign transactions, making them expensive for small purchases if they are accepted at all. Draw cash from a bank machine and then spend it: Cheaper, faster, easier. Big purchases can be put on a credit card -- widely accepted even with an archaic magnetic strip. Most credit cards, not all, add fees too.
OK, my impression after studying many website is this. Visa and Mastercard, part of what is called the Network, service point of sales (POS) transactions, when you go into a merchant and purchase something with your credit card. Visa and Mastercard also service credit cards used at ATMs for a cash advance, but it is a cash advance and comes with high rates.
Debit cards can also be used for POS transactions, where you pay with funds taken directly from your account. Or, they can be used to withdraw directly from you account at an ATM. The ATM transactions are serviced by Plus and Cirrus, also part of the Network. I'm not sure about the POS transactions.
An ATM card, if they still issue them, would be usable only at an ATM. A debit card would be usable at an ATM or also for a POS purchases. In either case, the money is taken directly from you checking account.
I checked my cards after reading this thread. I belong to 2 credit unions. I have a debit card for each checking account. One is a MasterCard and the other is a Visa. Both clearly have the words "Debit Card" above the MC and Visa logos on the bottom right of the cards. I'm not sure that I have ever had a card that was strictly an ATM card.
When traveling in Europe, I use them ONLY to get cash from a cash machine. I never use them for POS transactions.
I pay with cash about 80% of the time. I only use my credit card to pay if the price is high and the vendor takes credit cards.
Same as Lo.
In the past (no recently), I've encountered German Rail ticket automats that didn't take cash, only cards. If there was a line at the ticket window, I had to use the card, but that's about the only time I don't use cash.
Once, I arrived at the Freilassing station early, before the ticket counter was open, and the only machine in the station only took cards. I wanted to go the the Salzburg Hbf, which was a 2€ (at the time, $3) fare, so I had to charge $3 on my credit card to get a ticket.