Credit card vs. debit card
Monday, 6 March 2017
Credit or debit? That's a question we often hear when we're shopping. We may automatically default to one choice, so it's easy to forget that not all plastic is the same.
When you have both a debit card and credit card in your wallet, which one should you use, and when should you use them? Here are four reasons to use your credit card, and four more reasons to use your debit card:
Advantages of shopping with a credit card
- Points. Credit cards can offer amazing points that net cash, travel, or shopping rewards.
- Protection. Purchases made with credit cards are protected after the first $50. That means if your account information has been stolen and a thief goes on a spree on Amazon or at BestBuy, you are not responsible after the first $50. Credit cards, however, charge cash-advance fees of up to 5 percent of the amount withdrawn, plus interest rates that can average 6 percent higher than that for purchases.
- Perks. Many credit cards offer great benefits on purchases, including extended warranties, car rental insurance, and purchase protection.
- Building credit. Carrying a balance less than 30 percent of your limit, plus timely payments, can help build a strong credit history. This is critical when you're buying a home or car, applying for a job, or renting an apartment.
Advantages of debit cards
- Less debt risk. Since money to pay for purchases made with a debit card come straight from a checking account, it's a lot harder to rack up debt. A great option for those lacking in discipline.
- Discipline. If you're especially prone to impulse shopping or ignoring your budget (or not having a budget at all!), debit cards can force you to spend within your means.
- No fees. But not always. For example, not all credit cards have annual fees, and your bank or credit union will likely charge you overdraft fees when you spend more with your debit card than your checking account allows.
- Cash is usually free. There are many options to withdraw cash from an ATM using your debit card for no fee. Typically, banks and credit unions allow clients to use their own ATMs for free, and some even reimburse fees charged by other institutions. Credit cards, however, charge cash-advance fees of up to five percent of the amount withdrawn, plus interest rates that can average six percent higher than that for purchases.
The content provided is for informational purposes only. Neither BBVA USA, nor any of its affiliates, is providing legal, tax, or investment advice. You should consult your legal, tax, or financial consultant about your personal situation. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BBVA USA or any of its affiliates.
Links to third party sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement. BBVA USA does not provide, is not responsible for, and does not guarantee the products, services or overall content available at third party sites. These sites may not have the same privacy, security or accessibility standards.
You may also be interested in:
Saving for college: 529 plans
Thinking about future college plans for your children? A 529 plan is a smart way to save.
Credit cards 101
Understanding credit cards and figuring out which one is right for you could save you money long term.