VISA Electron is the sister card of finance giant VISA's standard debit card. It often comes with accounts that do not offer overdrafts, or are targeted at under-18s and those who are cautious about accruing debt. This means they are a useful option for those who want a card for basic transactions, without the added extras.
Visa Electron is primarily a debit card, and therefore has almost identical functionality to a standard Visa debit card. It's the same process for ATM withdrawals, sending and receiving payments, and paying for goods and services online and over the phone – wherever Visa Electron is accepted.
The key difference between a standard Visa debit card and a Visa Electron card is that payments can only be made with Electron cards when the funds are cleared in the accompanying bank account; there are therefore no overdrafts and a reduced chance of getting into debt.
Since 2009, fewer banks have been offering Visa Electron products, instead opting to provide standard Visa debit cards. However, Visa Electron cards are still available from Halifax, the only major bank still to issue the card.
To sign up for the Halifax Easycash account, you'll need to provide your:
Though Visa Electron is less widely accepted than standard Visa credit or debit cards, most major online casinos and online retailers accept Visa Electron as payment. Coral, William Hill, Amazon and Western Union all accept Visa Electron payments and deposits.
Most Visa Electron services are free additions to current accounts, but some accounts may have charges, and some retailers may charge processing or service fees when you pay by Visa Electron, so always check before you confirm your payment.
In addition to card payments, Visa Electron can be used with the Visa Personal Payments service, which allows customers to send and receive money from their mobile. All you need is the mobile number of the recipient, or for them to have yours. It works by sending the recipient a secure code and encrypted link in a text message, which directs them to a secure web page, where the transaction is finalised.
Visa Personal Payments is free to use for transfers up to £250 in your home currency.
Visa is one of the largest payment service providers in the world, so it's no surprise that their security is among the most highly developed around, and they are continually working to produce new security features.
Visa Electron has the added security of only being able to pay with funds that are in your account.