Although credit cards and debit cards appear to be the same thing, they have quite distinct functions.
One card is a revolving loan, while the other is a debit card that takes money out of your account. Debit cards are used to withdraw funds from your bank account. Credit cards allow you to take out a loan that must be paid back. Credit cards provide numerous benefits, including the ability to develop credit and enhanced security. Furthermore, you can only establish credit with one card.
Credit Cards: An Overview
A credit card gives you access to a line of credit (sometimes known as a credit limit) that you may use to make purchases. In a nutshell, you borrow money and must repay it by the due date to avoid incurring interest and fees.
Interest (Annual Percentage Rate) and a variety of fees are charged on credit cards, including annual fees, balance transfers, cash advances, international transactions, and late payments.
They also provide a variety of advantages, including fraud protection, purchase and travel insurance, substantial rewards, and access to lounges, that make using a credit card beneficial.
You may do a debt transfer or a cash advance with your credit card in addition to making new purchases.
Advantages of Credit Cards:
● When managed properly, credit cards can assist you in establishing a good credit history
Credit cards have a terrible reputation, but they’re one of the greatest methods to develop good credit.
Responsible credit card use can help you establish a good credit history and enhance your credit ratings. This is in striking contrast to debit cards and savings accounts, which have no impact on your credit score.
When you don’t have an adequate credit history, life might be more difficult. It is possible that you won’t be able to rent an apartment or obtain cell phone service. When signing up for utilities or internet service, you may be required to put down a deposit.
Good credit history might also help you receive better auto and mortgage loan conditions. A good credit score might even assist you in landing a job.
● If your card is lost or stolen, you will be protected
To put it another way, if your credit card is used without your consent, you have time to notify and address the fraud before your charge is due.
When you use a debit card, however, the money leaves your account right away, regardless of whether the charge is legitimate or not. And, depending on your bank, getting your money back might take weeks or months. Meanwhile, you may skip critical bill payments or be forced to borrow money to cover everyday expenses.
● Provide extra advantages, such as longer warranties on gadgets, for purchases you’ve previously made
The following are the most typical credit card rewards:
Cashback: Receive a portion of each purchase back as a statement credit (typically 1%–5%). It’s the equivalent of receiving a little discount on anything you purchase.
Miles or points: Every transaction you make earns you points or miles, which you can then redeem for flights, hotel stays, statement credits, and more.
You might not be able to get a rewards card straight immediately if you don’t have a good credit history. However, if your credit improves, you may be able to qualify for more and more appealing credit card offers.
● Give a month-long “free” loan (when you pay your bill in full)
A “grace period” applies when you use a credit card. You are not required to make a payment until the end of your billing cycle and the due date has passed. And, with most credit cards, if you pay your bill balance, on the whole, you’ll avoid paying any interest.
In other words, you might be able to receive an interest-free loan for the time between when you buy something and when you pay it off. This grace period is usually at least a month long.
Disadvantages of Credit Cards:
● Debt can be incurred as a result of excessive spending
When you use a credit card, you’re spending the bank’s money rather than your own. This money must be paid back, plus interest. You must at the very least make the minimum amount due each month. Having large balances on several credit cards might make it tough to keep up with monthly payments and put a burden on your finances.
● When used carelessly, credit cards greatly impact your credit score
Your credit scores may be improved by paying bills on time and keeping credit card balances low. However, if you tend to pay late, maxing out one or more of your cards, closing older accounts, or applying for new credit too frequently, you may harm your credit history.
● Interest and Fees
You’ll have to pay back everything you spend with interest because a credit card is effectively a short-term loan. Your annual percentage rate (APR) is calculated using the interest rate and costs charged by the credit business. Carrying a debt from month to month will cost you extra money if the card’s APR is higher.
If your card has an annual cost, a foreign transaction fee, a balance transfer fee, a cash advance fee, a late payment fee, or a returned payment fee, you should be aware of it. As a general rule, the better the rewards program and the more perks a credit card gives, the higher the annual fee.
Debit Cards: An Overview
You may make purchases with a debit card since it is connected to your checking account. Debit cards operate similarly to cash, you can’t spend more than the amount in your bank account. Any transactions made with a debit card are debited from your checking account automatically.
New purchases and cash withdrawals at ATMs are the only transactions you may conduct with a debit card. Transferring funds between accounts are not permitted.
Although few debit cards provide incentives and rewards, some may give interest on contributions to your checking account. Annual fees are rarely charged on debit cards, although monthly account management fees are sometimes charged on checking accounts if balance criteria aren’t fulfilled.
Advantages of Debit Cards:
● Easy Handling
Debit cards are quite simple to manage. The payment may be made quickly since it is debited straight from your bank account, where the money already exists. It’s a lot faster than having to wait for a credit transaction to complete or worrying about having enough cash in your account to pay your costs. Transactions with debit cards are quick, simple, and convenient.
● Prevents Debt
Debit cards have the advantage of not putting you in debt when you use them, according to many people. They restrict your spending to the funds in your bank account. There will also be no monthly interest costs.
● No Annual Fees
Using debit cards saves money as well. They don’t usually impose yearly fees like certain credit cards. Furthermore, several banks provide free checking accounts with no monthly fees. If you need cash from an ATM, you can usually obtain it for free if you use your debit card at ATMs that are associated with your bank.
Disadvantages of Debit Cards:
● There are little to no incentives
You won’t earn any points, miles, or cash back on debit card transactions unless you have a reward checking account. Because rewards can save you money depending on how you redeem them, if you just use your debit card, you may be missing out.
● It’s not going to help you establish credit
Building excellent credit entails proving to lenders that you can return the money you borrow properly. You can’t do that when you use a debit card connected to your bank account, therefore using a debit card alone won’t help you develop or build a credit history.
● Extra Fees
Although there are no yearly or annual fees with debit cards, you may have to pay extra costs to establish a checking account. Monthly maintenance costs, overdraft fees if you overdraw your account, returned item fees, and international ATM fees if you use your debit card at a machine owned by another bank or financial institution are examples of these expenses.
Which Is the Better Option?
For most transactions, a credit card is the best option. A credit card protects you in numerous ways that a debit card does not whether you purchase online or in-person (including sheltering your checking account, extended warranties, and more). To prevent financing costs, the trick is to pay off the card’s amount in full every month.
A debit card is preferable for cash withdrawals and can help you avoid debt and overspending. Your debit card is the best choice for cash withdrawals at ATMs. If you stick to safe ATMs, you’ll save money on fees and your card information won’t be stolen. Stick with a debit card if a credit card would encourage you to take on a pile of debt.