Most people have at least one debit card and multiple credit cards, but have you ever stopped to think about whether one is better to use than the other?
Both are convenient, for different reasons. And both are similar in that they can be used in much the same way: by entering the card number, swiping at a terminal, inserting into a chip reader or tapping. Depending which country you live in, both even offer rewards such as travel or cash back, and both have a dispute process should your card be compromised.
The most obvious difference between credit cards and debit cards is that credit cards draw on lines of credit granted to the user by the bank or financial institution and debit cards draw on funds in the user’s personal bank account. Another major difference is that debit cards use pin numbers, while credit cards do not.
So now that you know the differences, which one should you use more?
That depends on various things, which we’ll discuss in detail.
Debit cards are preferred when it comes to fees. That’s because there aren’t many. The only fees likely incurred are at ATMs at locations other than your bank. On the other hand, credit cards can come with a variety of fees, such as over credit limit fees, annual fees, and late fees.
When spending money with a debit card, we are naturally more cost conscious because we know we’re spending our own money. With credit cards, even though we have to pay our bill, it doesn’t quite feel like we’re spending money we earned, so we’re more prone to overspend. Those who have trouble controlling their spending should consider using debit cards for most transactions.
For those who want to build credit, credit cards are the clear winner. Every swipe you make and every payment you make help you build a credit history. And if you manage your cards wisely, you will have good credit. Debit cards don’t help you build credit, so they won’t help in this respect.
When vacationing, you can use either debit or credit cards, but you will find credit cards more convenient. Renting a car or reserving a hotel room can be inconvenient when using only a debit card. Often there are more holds placed on debit cards or higher deposits required. Some establishments won’t even accept debit cards as payment.
So should you use a debit card or credit card more? The answer is, it depends on your reason for using it. Going on vacation or want to build your credit? Use a credit card. If you want to monitor your spending or cut down on fees, use a debit card. Each has its own special use, so it is beneficial to have both.