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Debit Vs Credit: What Should You Use?

With the countless number of transactions that you have to make on a daily basis, credit cards are seen as a better option when it comes to making purchases over debit cards. However, that may not be true all the time. If your finances are heavily credit dependent, you might be adding more consumer debt than you would want to. Therefore, it is important to create a conversation about debit vs credit to understand when to use each payment option.

Take our credit counseling tips to decide between debit vs credit.

Take our credit counseling tips to decide between debit vs credit.

Debit Vs Credit : Factors to Consider

The choice of using a credit or debit card to pay for the many transactions you make depends on the following factors.

  • The type of transaction
  • Time and place the transaction occur
  • The urgency of the transaction
  • The level of protection you need for your transactions

What is the Difference Between Debit Vs Credit?

Here is the primary difference between the two methods of payment.

  • Debit: You will enter a pin number and the funds are deducted instantly from the account that is linked to your card when you use a debit card.
  • Credit: A majority of the times a signature authorization is required and the funds may or may not be instantly deducted from the bank account that is linked to your card when a credit card is used.

When Should You Use Which Card?

Debit cards are most often useful as the payment method when:

  • The receiving party needs to be paid immediately.
  • You are watching your finances more closely and are recovering from credit card debt. Using a debit card will impose a level of control into your spending.
  • You want to minimize the various banking fees and charges. Debit cards have few or no fees unless you spend the funds available in your bank account that is linked to the card.

Credit cards are most often useful as the payment method when:

  • You are shopping online because of the heightened safety. When a credit card is used, you are able to detect and reverse fraudulent transactions quickly.
  • You make large purchases. You can benefit from the no/low-interest installment-based payment plans. You can also benefit from warranty protection programs that go beyond the manufacturer warranties for high-value items.
  • You are traveling. You can enjoy perks such as additional protection to your transactions, travel insurance, more cash back bonuses and more by using credit cards.
  • You can earn rewards. If you have a card with a rewards program, it can be beneficial to use it more often. This is true as long as you are paying off debt on time. Rewards can come in the form of airline miles, cash back, or points for future merchandise.
  • You are trying to build a positive credit history. Using credit responsibly and making on-time payments over a long period of time will help you boost your credit score.

There are numerous transactions that you make every day. Each transaction needs to be carefully thought through to figure out which type of payment option is most suited. The wrong use of any of these options can give you additional credit problems.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Dilini is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. To anyone, managing finances can be a real challenge! Any tips and tricks to help get through this are great! Dilini will share her experiences, tips, and tricks along the way through the Talking Cents blog. Stay tuned!

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