Difference Between Stimulus Check and Debit Card

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Stimulus Check and Debit Card

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During the Covid-19 pandemic time, a new concept developed in the US. A policy was launched by the government to provide financial help to people to pay the bills of the hospitals. The money was given in the form of a stimulus check. Though the concept of stimulus check is not new in the US, it gained power and popularity during the Corona period.

It is considered a debit card sometimes. But they are completely different from each other. The debit card has the money hard-earned by people. However, a stimulus check has money provided by the government for financial support at the time of crisis.

Stimulus Check vs. Debit Card

A stimulus check is a form of a check issued by the government for financial support to people at the time of crisis. It is given to the needy and involves certain eligibility criteria. This eligibility includes several things that ensure the person's identification and proper delivery of money.

A stimulus check is an ancient method set up by Americans who were sent money for financial help. When the covid-19 struck the world, hospital bills suddenly rose. Everyone was getting sorted out of the money. Looking at this condition, the US government launched a policy according to which the eligible candidate will receive an amount through their mailbox.

The eligibility criteria of the stimulus check are simple. It involves the annual income of the person, whether the person is married or not. How many numbers are in the family? The amount may vary depending on the salary of the person.

Next is a debit card. A debit card is a small rectangular card used to withdraw money from the bank account at any place. It is not provided by someone, instead, a person earns the money that he keeps in it. It is a kind of service to the public for easy transaction of money in real-time without going to the bank.

While transacting money through the debit card, the money is directly cut from the holder's bank account. The debit card is widely used during the pandemic, but it is not specially designed for the pandemic itself. Instead, it was designed to ease people's work and save their time and energy.

Difference Between Stimulus Check and Debit Card In Tabular Form

Parameter of comparison Stimulus check Debit card
Definition It is a sum of money provided by the government to fight the pandemic or other economic crisis A debit card is money deposited in the bank account by the person itself. A debit card is a method to transact. money from the bank.
Physical difference It is a paper cheque It is a plastic rectangular box
Other terms Corona relief fund, economic bill ATM, credit card, bank card, payment card, check card
launched It was launched in 2020 It is in use for many years
purpose To provide financial help to the vulnerable group to fight against economic hardship. To provide an instant transaction of money from the bank account without even going to the bank.
Amount The money is fixed according to the economic condition and the number of family members. The money is not fixed. The bank holder can spend as much money as they want.

What Is a Stimulus Check?

A stimulus check is a check sent to the person to support him at the time of financial crisis. This program was launched by the US government in 2008 to fight against the great depression. However, it does not gain popularity at that time.

When the Covid-19 was spread in the world, and the population was facing a great economic crisis, it was again launched to provide people with a fixed amount of money to sustain themselves and pay the bills of hospitals.

The amount of money in the stimulus check varies from person to person. There are people as well who don't receive any stimulus check. So, how it is decided who will receive the stimulus check and who will not? Well to do this, the US government has set up a special eligibility criterion that checks out the total annual income of the person and the number of family members in the house. The amount is calculated according to the income of that person.

Once, the amount which is going to transfer is decided, the next problem is how to send this money to the person. This money is not transferred to the bank account because many poor people do not have bank accounts. The stimulus check is either mailed to the person or if the person does not have any home, the money is delivered to a nearby post office or a nearby mail where the person resides. Another method of giving stimulus checks is by doing an equivalent tax credit to their tax fillings.

For the first time, the stimulus credit was issued in 2008 to meet the financial crisis of the great depression. It was a severe financial crisis. The unemployment had reached up to 8 percent. The money distributed during this period was under the Economic Stimulation Act of 2008. The government sent money to those who had at least $3,000 income. In this phase of the stimulus check issues, the money was divided into three parts

  • Between $300 to $600 for an unmarried man
  • Between $600 to $1,200 for a married man who fills joint returns
  • $300 for each qualified child

The stimulus check was reissued for the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. It was launched under CARES Act where people were given $1,200 per adult and $600 for each child. The amount of this phase was provided only with an income of $75,000 per year for individuals and 1,50, 000 per year for a married couple.

The second phase of the stimulus check was issued in March 2021. This time, the stimulus payment was $600 and was launched under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The stimulus check was criticized a lot by people. They believed that the distribution of money prevents the work that might have happened if they had not issued money. Reports even showed that the percentage of employment decreased after distributing money. It was considered proof that the program of transferring to the needy was a failure. It increased unemployment in a society that was already in damaged condition due to the coronavirus.

However, some reports also show that the stimulus check benefitted many people. It helped people to pay the bill of the hospitals and medicine charges. A positive impact ran through the veins of the society for the stimulus check.

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card is a plastic, rectangular card that allows you to access money from the bank account in real-time without going to the bank. These are used in various places like, to buy goods and products, pay bills, etc. When the card is used, money is automatically deducted from the bank account. The debit card might be of various types like master card, bank card, check card, etc. Other plastic materials work exactly like debit cards, credit cards, financial cards, etc.

The debit card allows daily transactions, but it cannot proceed with more than a fixed amount of money. This limit is known as the purchase limit. The debit card doesn't allow to transact more than the purchase limit. Someone may want to exceed the maximum amount transferred in a day. In these cases, the person may talk to their branches.

A debit card is more like an ATM card and a credit card. It has features of both cards. That's why it is more popular than other cards. It can be used to withdraw cash from the bank ATM card as well as to shop by sweeping the card. These purchases can be made with or without a personal identification number (PIN).

The service of a debit card is not completely free. It may apply charges along with the ATM transaction fees. But it doesn't charge anything to get the card, except membership fees. It is minimal and has to submit before getting the card.

One feature of the debit card is that it provides funds more than the bank account possesses. If the person subscribes to the advanced members of the debit card, he can withdraw a fixed amount of money whenever he desires from the bank account. However, he has to pay back this money within a fixed interval.

Transacting money from the bank account is a lot easier than withdrawing money from the ATM. Also, it is safer than taking a bundle of cash along with rather than taking a small card with all money encrypted in it. Also, when money is transacted via a debit card, the person gets an in-built invoice slip in the form of a bank statement.

A debit card offers security against theft or broken. If the card is broken, the bank will reissue a new card in the person's name. And, if the card is theft, then the bank provides the service of immediately closing the ATM card to provide safety against any fraudulent transaction. Also, the bank will issue a new card in the owner's name. However, they may ask for a replacement fee to issue a new card.

However, debit cards do not offer many perks as credit card offers. If the debit card falls in the hand of an identity thief, then chances are high that the bank account will immediately get cleared up. Also, with a debit card or any other card, the amount present in the bank account cannot be checked. Several auto-cuts attached to the bank account make it difficult to remember the total amount of money in the bank account. Thus, purchasing can be difficult in these situations. The system may show card decline or card interruption at the time of the transaction in these situations. However, the money present in the bank account can be checked easily by going to an ATM card or the bank. But it is a lengthy process.

Difference Between Stimulus Check and Debit Card In Points

  • A stimulus credit is a small sum of money issued by the government to people so that they can handle the financial crisis caused due to adverse situations in the country. However, a debit card is a rectangular plastic card that is used to issue money from the bank account without going to the bank.
  • The stimulus credit is issued by the government. However, the debit card owns its money that is deposited by the person in the bank account
  • The stimulus credit is a paper check, while a debit card is plastic, rectangular tag.
  • A stimulus credit is also known as the coronavirus relief fund, economic bill, etc. However, a debit card is known as ATM, bank card, payment card, check card, check card, etc.
  • The stimulus credit was launched for the first time in 2020. However, a debit card is in use for many years and is still being used to transfer money in real-time.
  • This initiative was launched to provide financial stability to the person during the crisis. However, the debit card was launched to provide services to people.
  • The amount being transferred in the stimulus check is fixed. However, the amount being transferred to the debit card is not fixed. A person may invest as much as they want.


The stimulus check and the debit card are completely different from each other. They do not correlate only with the fact that they are financially involved. A stimulus check is a kind of charity or welfare work for the poor. However, the debit card was launched for shopping, transferring money, paying at the gas station, etc.

The stimulus check launched by the government has both positive and negative effects. It stabled the economic condition of people. However, it contributed to increasing the overall unemployment rate in the US. But the debit card possesses a fixed amount of money. It doesn't involve any negative effects.


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"Difference Between Stimulus Check and Debit Card." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 19 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-stimulus-check-and-debit-card-176>.

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