What Is A Debit Card
A debit card is a payment card that makes payments by deducting money directly from a consumers checking account, rather than on-loan from a bank or card issuer. Debit cards offer the convenience of credit cards and many of the same consumer protections when issued by major payment processors such as Visa or Mastercard.
There are two types of debit cards that do not require the customer to have a checking or savings account, as well as one standard type.
- Standard debit cards draw on your bank account.
- Electronic benefits transfer cards are issued by state and federal agencies to allow qualifying users to use their benefits to make purchases.
- Prepaid debit cards give people without access to a bank account a way to make electronic purchases up to the amount that was preloaded onto the card.
Frugal consumers may prefer to use debit cards because there are usually few or no associated fees unless users spend more than they have in their account and incur an overdraft fee. By contrast, credit cards generally charge annual fees, over-limit fees, late payment fees, and a plethora of other penalties, in addition to monthly interest on the cards outstanding balance.
Setting Up Automatic Bill Payments
While I love the idea of setting up recurring payments to make sure expenses like loan payments, gym memberships and utilities never fall through the cracks, it can become a bookkeeping nightmare if you dont keep a cash cushion in your account.
To protect yourself from bank overdraft fees, consider setting up automatic payments on a credit card instead.
Whats The Risk Of Using A Credit Card
First, lets cover what happens if someone steals your credit card. Fortunately, you get some really nice protection thanks to a federal law called the Fair Credit Billing Act .
This law is one of the reasons I prefer using credit instead of debit. The FCBA says if a thief takes your card or even just steals the card number and takes off on a shopping spree, youre responsible for no more than $50.
It doesnt matter if a cyber criminal hacks your credit card number online and then uses it to kick back in a five-star hotel in Maui for a week you wont have to pay more than $50. Plus, many credit card issuers offer fraud protection that completely eliminates your liability.
The protection gets even better if you become aware that your credit card is lost or stolen and report it before unauthorized charges are made. In that case, youre not even responsible for $50 youre completely off the hook!
The FCBA protects you from unauthorized charges on revolving accounts, including credit cards, charge cards, retail store cards, gas cards and lines of credit. The law also protects you against other issues like being charged for unaccepted goods, undelivered goods or other formal disputes you make.
These are terrific protections that should make you feel confident about using a credit card in stores or online.
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What Is The Best Prepaid Credit Card In Canada
Vanilla Prepaid Mastercard and Visa review. Im willing to bet youve seen these in your local grocery store,Walmart,or drugstore.
What is the best bank debit card?
Clearing a debit card as a credit card does not change the lack of consumer protections you have on a debit card. It just makes the bank or credit union more money and costs the merchant more money, Clark says. So you may be wondering how can you protect your account when paying for gas at the pump. Here are some safety tips.
Does it cost to have a debit card?
Does it cost money to get the card? No! There is no fee to apply for a Venmo Mastercard Debit Card. Apply for the card in the Venmo app under Settings Venmo Debit Card. Learn more about Venmos fees. Are there fees to use the card? There are no fees when you use your Venmo Debit Card for purchases.
Liability If Lost Or Stolen
Most cards have $0 liability protection for fraudulent purchases. You may report the theft or loss in a timely manner to dispute fraudulent charges.
Some debit cards offer $0 liability protection. Otherwise, you may pay a maximum of $50 if you notify the bank within two days of learning the card is missing. After that the liability may increase to $500. Notice must be given within 60 days of your statement being sent to you. After 60 days, the liability is unlimited.1
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The Differences Between Debit Vs Credit Cards
Although debit and credit cards may look the same, theyre completely different financial tools. Im sure youre familiar with how they work:
- A allows you to make purchases using borrowed money that you have to pay back with interest over time.
- A debit card allows you to make purchases using your own money thats linked to a bank checking or savings account.
But what you may not know is that credit and debit cards offer very different levels of legal and financial protection.
Debit cards give you fewer rights than a credit card, so its important to understand your potential liability.
Pros And Cons Of Debit Cards
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When Should You Use A Credit Card
All in all, credit cards are almost always the better option to use for purchases . This is especially the case when shopping online because credit cards offer a wealth of purchase and fraud protections that debit cards lack.
Credit cards also typically win against debit cards when it comes to rewards. While many debit cards now offer purchase rewards, they still pale in comparison to credit card rewards. And the sign-up bonuses you can get if you choose the right credit card can put bank account bonuses to shame.
If you’re new to credit cards and still learning the ropes, check out our Guide to Your First Credit Card before you jump in.
Debit Cards Dont Charge You Interest
In 2021, the average credit card interest rate increased to 17.13%.1 Multiply that by the 55 million American households who have a credit card balance , and credit card companies stand to make $134.81 billion in interest alone.2,3,4 Man, were boiling just thinking about it!
In a system thats built to keep you owing more, using a debit card is a great way to take back control. You can walk up, swipe your debit card, and be on your way with your purchase. Done. No payments six months from now. No 17% interest on your account. No 90-days-same-as-cash with five pages of fine print. No annual fees. With a debit card, you can buy what you needand avoid the useless fees.
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It Is Ok To Use A Credit Card For Everyday Purchases That You Can Pay Off
As long as you use it responsibly, charging everyday purchases to your credit card is perfectly finein fact it can be the key to building credit and boosting your credit score. Stay within your credit limit and always try to pay your statement off in full.
“I use my credit card for every possible purchase, whether it’s a $1 pack of gum at the gas station or a major home improvement with a contractor,” says Lowery. “The more I use my rewards cards, the bigger the bank of rewards I have to take my next vacation for free.” Many offer points, travel miles, or cash back on everyday purchases like groceries or gas.
Rewards and all, it’s still good to practice budgeting, spending within your means, and paying your bill every month. “Often times people get caught up with the points and travel miles,” says Perry. “Although points do save money you have to always pay that amount back.”
Bottom line: You can use both your debit and credit cards for everyday purchases depending on your personal preference, but stick to in-person transactions for your debit card to ensure safety. Having both and using each responsibly will help keep your financial life in good shape.
Can Anyone Get A Credit Card
Most people can apply for and receive a credit card, but if they have a history of bad credit or no credit, the credit cards for which they are eligible may not be as useful. Those without credit or with very bad credit may apply for a secured credit card, where the credit line is secured by a deposit when opening the card. For more attractive rewards cards, higher credit scores are needed.
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Who Sets The Credit Limit On A Credit Card
Its determined based on different factors related to the clients credit file. The limit may increase over time if you build strong credit. After a while, you could request an increase to your credit limit, or even lower it if you dont think you need as high a limit as you currently have, notes Arès.
Usually, a first credit card will come with a credit limit no lower than about $500. You can still build credit with that much. Make purchases and pay them off quickly. Your bank will see that youre using your card responsibly and after a while, youll be able to ask for a credit limit increase.
Why Nearly Every Purchase Should Be On A Credit Card
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Cash used to be king. People paid for everyday purchases with cash or with checks , and they saved credit cards for big, infrequent purchases If they had credit cards at all. Nowadays, credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, and some people never carry cash at all.
In general, NerdWallet recommends paying with a credit card whenever possible:
You can earn significant rewards without changing your spending habits.
It’s easier to track your spending.
Responsible credit card use is one of the easiest and fastest ways to build credit.
Using credit cards does not mean going into debt. Spend money as you normally would, pay your balance in full every month, and you’ll reap all the benefits of credit cards while never carrying debt or paying a penny in interest.
» MORE:NerdWallet’s best credit cards
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Debit Card Vs Credit Card: The Mechanics
Debit cards are tied to your bank accounts. When you use your debit card to make a charge, the funds are withdrawn right away from your account. If you try to use your debit card for a purchase that costs more money than you have deposited, your bank will generally decline the transaction.
Your credit card, on the other hand, works like a portable, flexible loan. You can borrow money , pay it off and borrow again. You can repeat this process repeatedly as long as your account is open and in good standing.
As you use your credit card through a billing cycle, your charges are tallied up on your monthly statement. Its up to you whether to pay off your entire balance by the due date or to make at least the minimum payment toward the amount you owe.
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People tend to avoid credit cards since you can get into serious financial trouble if you dont manage your account well, overspend and allow yourself to get into debt, with expensive interest fees tacked on regularly. Credit card debt should indeed be avoided, but youll miss out on great benefits if you swear off credit cards altogether.
Here are the three reasons a credit card is a smarter choice than a debit card.
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Making A Large Purchase
When you make a big purchase, like furniture, electronics or appliances, you get much less protection if you pay with a debit card instead of using a credit card.
For instance, lets say your furniture is delivered and you find damage that occurred during shipment.
If the furniture company wont reimburse you or exchange the merchandise, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company. The card company will reverse your payment to the merchant and inform them that theyve opened a dispute on your behalf.
But if you paid with a debit card, the money is taken from your account right away. The only way to settle a dispute might be to begin an expensive lawsuit.
Additionally, many credit cards also offer extended warranties. So, if your new television has a 60-day warranty, but the display goes bad after 90 days, your credit card might protect you.
Of course, you should only use a credit card if you can pay off the balance in full or if youre intentional about financing a planned purchase using a low-rate credit card, so you pay no interest or as little as possible.
You Have A Debit Card With Rewards
If you have limited credit card opportunities due to poor credit history, you may want to consider a debit card with rewards. Rossman acknowledges that debit card rewards lag significantly behind credit card rewards. “In fact, most debit cards don’t offer rewards at all,” he says.
One standout is the Discover Cashback Debit Account, which offers cardholders 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases, and The Cash Card , which offers cash back “boosts” up to 15% at certain retailers.
Although some bigger banks like Bank of America don’t offer cash-back rewards on any of its debit cards, it does have a program called BankAmerideals, which gives checking accountholders access to benefits such as cash back, coupons, promo codes, discounts and access to unique experiences. You can see all the deals available to you by logging into your account online. You usually have to register for the rewards to kick in.
If you are tempted to overspend, and you are racking up interest on credit cards with high revolving balances and steep interest, a debit card may help you manage your finances as you won’t be able to spend more than you have in the linked account.
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Do I Use Credit Or Debit If I Need To Get Cash Back During A Transaction
If you are at the store and wish to get some cash back during your transaction, you must use a debit card. You will be prompted to input how much cash you’d like during the checkout transaction. The amount selected will be added to the total, and that new amount will be the amount taken from your account.
You Need Access To Cash Quickly
If you’re in need of cash, you can use both a debit card and a credit card to withdraw money at ATMs. When you use a credit card to withdraw cash, it’s considered a cash advance, and you’re immediately charged interest on the transaction . Most financial experts warn against cash advances as they can be very expensive.
If you use an in-network ATM to withdraw cash with your debit card, the transaction will be free. If you’re in a pinch and use an out-of-network ATM, you’ll likely get hit with a transaction fee from both your bank and the ATM provider. This can be expensive, but not nearly as much as when you use a credit card to withdraw cash.
There are some banks that offer to refund a certain number of out-of-network ATM fees each month, quarter or year, like Ally and Alliant.
Many retailers offer the option to add a cash amount for withdrawal to your purchase at the point of sale when you use a debit card.
If you’re in a situation where you need cash and can’t find an in-network ATM nearby, Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst with Bankrate, recommends popping into a retailer and making a withdrawal with purchase to avoid the ATM fees.
Although this strategy can save you money on transaction fees, you must have the funds available in your checking account to cover both your purchases and the additional cash amount added to your sale. If you overspend, you may be assessed overdraft fees by your bank.
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