Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards
Debit cards are an alternative to credit cards
with some major differences. Debit cards withdraw
money directly from your checking account, and
although they may have a MasterCard or VISA logo
your available credit limit is the money you currently
have in your bank account.
Debit cards are accepted by merchants for goods
and services, usually consumables like; groceries,
gas, meals out, and clothing. You are actually
paying cash for these items just as though you
handed the merchant money instead of plastic.
You generally can only spend what you have unless
you have an “overdraft” account which
will cover a little more.
Credit Cards are borrowed money, used for a
variety of items. It’s the “buy now,
pay later” plan. This works if you have
the money to pay later, but can become a credit
trap if you spend more than you can pay back later
because you “thought you could”.
- Your money, direct access to your account
- No interest or finance charges
- Do not report activity to credit reporting
bureaus, not useful for building credit scores
- Works in ATM’s for cash with PIN number
or at “point of Sale” for merchandise
- Point of Sale transactions come directly
from your bank account, no monthly bills, but
no time delay either
- If stolen, can give thief direct access to
all your money with limited protection against
misuse and theft
- Must keep track of spending in check book
so you don’t get overdrawn
* This online application is subject
to the terms and conditions as described in the
Important Information Section of the application.
*See the online credit card application for details
about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts
are made to maintain accurate information. However
all credit card information is presented without
warranty. When you click on the “Apply Here"
button, you can review the credit card terms and
conditions on the cooresponding card issuer’s
- Borrowed money, must be paid back
- Costs you finance charges, interest charges,
dues and fees
- Reports your habits to credit bureaus. May
help or hurt your credit score depending on
your spending and payment habits
- Credit limit generally higher than cash on
hand would be
- Can get cash as “cash advances”
costs more in interest and finance fees
- If stolen you are only liable for the first
Both kinds of cards have their positives and
negatives. The biggest negative on the debit card
is the issue of stolen or unauthorized usage.
This could cause you to lose a great deal of money.
It’s always a good idea to have a separate
account for the debit card so that any thief is
limited on the amount he can steal.
To safeguard your debit card, follow these measures.
- Sign your card as soon as you receive it.
- Report a lost or stolen card immediately.
- Always review your statements and report
any unauthorized charges immediately.
- Keep the phone number and name of your card
issuer in a safe, secure place.
- Choose a PIN that no one else could possibly
know or guess.
- Memorize your PIN and never give it out or
write it on the card, the card sleeve or on
anything else you keep in your wallet or purse.
- Shield the screen and keyboard when you are
entering your PIN.