Money, finances and banking form a huge part of becoming an independent adult. But even if you've had a cash, debit, or even credit card for a while, you might still be confused about how bank cards work. Here’s a quick guide to that most common of card, the automated teller machine (ATM) card. What is an ATM, and what can I use them for? ATMs are self-service banking machines which allow you to access your bank account without having to line up and speak to an actual person. How to invest in the stock market if you're a newbie They have many functions, but you can mostly use them for either taking money out of your account (making withdrawals), putting money into your account (making deposits), or transferring money to other accounts. Most machines can only perform one of these functions, but some large machines can perform all three. Will my ATM card work anywhere in the world? There is nothing worse than being stuck overseas an unable to draw cash. This might be happening because your bank is not on the local system, or not on the system that particular ATM is using. It's always a good idea to check with your bank before you go overseas to make sure you can withdraw money from ATMs there, and what restrictions there might be. Be careful to ask them what system they are on, e.g. Union Pay in case you need to look for a matching ATM. If your card has a Maestro, Cirrus, or Plus it should work anywhere. Also, some banks will lock an ATM to their home country as an extra precaution against card theft. Again, a call to the bank before you go overseas will unlock your cash. Bitcoin, blockchain, and how to take the plunge into cryptocurrency Can I pay for things with my ATM card? Many ATM cards can be used as debit cards to make payments in shops. This is done through an electronic payment system; local systems vary from country to country. There will be a relevant logo on your card telling you if a shop or restaurant accepts this form of payment; they usually include most major supermarkets, convenience stores, and larger shops. To make an electronic purchase, you insert your card into the small card machine on the shop’s checkout counter and put in your personal identification number (PIN). You can then return the machine to the cashier to complete the transaction. When you pay this way, the money is instantly deducted from your bank account. Is there a difference between an ATM card and a credit card? When you open a bank account, you will be issued an ATM card by the bank, which is directly linked to your account. If you withdraw or deposit any money, your account will be immediately updated – which means you can only spend whatever money is currently in your account. The four financial management skills you should have learned at school – but didn’t A credit card, meanwhile, does not link directly with your bank account. When you pay using a credit card, you are borrowing money from a bank or lender, which you need to pay back later. The longer you take to pay back the full amount, the more interest – extra money you pay the bank or lender for using money that isn’t yours to begin with – you have to pay. How can I keep my details safe when using an ATM? Your ATM card is protected by a PIN (personal identification number) which you need to type into an ATM to access your account. You’ll need to remember your PIN – but don’t let anyone else know it, and try not to keep it written down anywhere. 7 ways to save money so you'll never be broke Sometimes, criminals attach illegal devices to ATMs, like tiny cameras or card skimmers, that can record your card data or PIN. When you use an ATM, look out for any suspicious devices on the machine, or someone looking over shoulder or using a mirror. When you enter your PIN, cover the keypad with your other hand to avoid anyone else seeing your number. If you lose your card, call the bank right away to cancel the card and order a new one. This article was curated in conjunction with Young Post .