Cardholders use debit cards at the point of sale or in the internet to make purchases debited to their account or at an automated teller machine (ATM) to withdraw cash from their account. Unlike in the case of credit cards, the cardholder’s account is debited immediately.
Credit card payments are debited at regular intervals. Cardholders receive a credit card billing statement, usually once a month, listing all purchases, and their cost, during that period. Cardholders may pay the amount on the billing statement in full either immediately or after a certain period (charge cards), or they may pay the amount in installments (revolving cards). Cardholders are thus granted a credit with a very short maturity for the period between the purchase and the due date of the bill.
Some 10 million debit cards and 3,5 million credit cards are currently circulating in Austria. They can be used at 8.773 ATMs and 124.780 POS terminals. In 2018 around 660 million debit cards with a total value of 26,7 billion euros and 203 million credit card transactions with a total value of 16,5 billion euros were processed. This averages out to EUR 40 per debit transaction and EUR 81 per credit transaction.
The most commonly used products/schemes in Austria are Maestro, VPAY and Debit Mastercard for debit cards and Mastercard, VISA, American Express and Dinersclub for credit Cards.