Culture File 7:
There are a high percentage of credit card users in English-speaking countries. People also carry charge cards (from stores or gas stations), and debit cards. Debit cards replace checks and are used instead of cash. The money is immediately transferred from your bank account.
Debit cards are usually also ATM cards (ATM is Automatic Teller Machine in the U.S.A., cash machine or cashpoint in Europe). You have a PIN (Personal Identification Number) which you use with the cards for security. You never write this down, nor tell it to anyone. When you check in at a hotel, they prefer credit cards to checks or cash. They will ask to swipe your card on arrival, or they may take an impression of your card.