Debit or Credit?


I have a question.  What are the benefits of using a debit card over a credit card?  We have used a credit card for most of our purchases for many years, and every time I’m asked “Debit or Credit?” I have to wonder if there’s something I’m missing.

Obviously, lots of people use a debit card, so I’m hoping my readers can explain the concept to me.  Why do you prefer it?



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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25 Responses to Debit or Credit?

  1. Debit…..We don’t use credit cards

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have credit only cards but I am trying to pay them off and I don’t use them.  I use my debit/credit card tied to my bank account.  I always run  it through as a debit though. If you run it as a debit the money comes out of my checking immediately but if you run it as credit it can take 2 or 3 days to clear.  I would rather use debit so I can keep my account balanced regularly.

  3. fwren says:

    I just use a credit card and pay it off every month, so there are no interest charges that way.  In fact, we get money back from the credit card company.  Debit cards scare me because of overdrawn possibilities and the charges thereof if you’re not really, really aware of the balance at all times.

  4. If you have a credit card you can’t use it as a debit card. It is only a credit card. Most debit cards can be used as either a debit or a credit card. As a debit card you use your pin number and it is taken immediately out of your account. When you say credit,  it is processed as a credit card and you sign rather than use a pin number  but still comes out of your checking /money market account. If I am in a store where shoppers are close I will use my debit card as a credit card for safety reasons .Some banks now are using debit cards that are tied into a line of credit as well, but I would advise against using them. I also advise against carrying credit cards in your wallet unless you are on vacation or if you are intentionally going to make a purchase on credit-having them with you increases the chance of making a purchase on credit on impulse that you may not otherwise make.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We use a debit card and my husband tells me to say ‘credit’ when they ask me ‘debit’ or ‘credit’. It still comes out of your checking account but i think the charges are less or something like that. It is safer as well. I like what ProvokingThought had to say 🙂

  6. mrcolorful says:

    I just have a credit card.  I just make it a point to pay off the balance every months.  I’ve thought about getting a debit card a few times but I’ve never gotten around to doing anything about it.

  7. SpazzyMommy says:

    I have often wondered the same thing! I have a visa debit card that comes straight from my bank account- but I don’t know what would happen if I swiped as credit instead of debit. :)I always say DEBIT. 🙂

  8. BooksForMe says:

    We have gotten an accountant, because of NBF becoming a non-profit.  He advised us to always use the New Brother’s card as a credit for tax purposes.  And, he said checks are even better.  With that particular bank account, it also saves us a small usage fee to go credit.Personally, we do not use credit cards at all.  We use our debit/credit card as debit most of the time.  I like the fact that debit transactions are processed quicker.  Credit transactions can take up to a week—or longer.

  9. I prefer debit because then I know that it’s my money, and not credit. Plus, I have bad credit, and working to rebuild that seems futile if I keep using credit. 

  10. gokellyjo says:

    What a great question.  I don’t use a debit card.  I use paper checks.  Imagine that.  LOL.  We also have ONE credit card, which is paid off every single month.  I tend to track purchases better with a credit card, because I get an itemized statement every month. 

  11. deyoderized says:

    I prefer a credit card for several reasons.  For one, I get cashback, as much as 5%.  Secondly,and more importantly, I think it has much more protection against fraud than debit cards.  We’ve had fraudulent purchases on one of our credit cards, and I would hate to think of the hassle and fees we would’ve encountered had that money come out of our checking account as it would have had it been a debit card.  It could’ve been weeks till we got the money back, if ever!  (different banks have different policies on debit card fraud)  As it was, all the fraudulent charges were removed, so it never came out of our checking account.  This was thousands of dollars.  I would never use a debit card online.  That’s my 2 cents.

  12. homefire says:

    @Kristenmomof3 – @Hecalmsthestorm – @NewSurrender – @SpazzyMommy – @BooksForMe – Yes, but I was wondering WHY you use debit cards.  Some of you mentioned that the money comes out of your account immediately.  I know that, but I think that sounds like a drawback rather than a benefit–aren’t you much more likely to make a mistake and be overdrawn, which will cost you more?  Or do you just keep a huge balance in checking?@ProvokingThought – Thanks for explaining how those either/or cards work–I have wondered.  You mentioned not carrying credit cards because they might be stolen and @apennieformythoughts – mentioned bad credit.  I can see those problems, but neither is a real concern for me, and I’m just wondering if there are any other benefits to a debit card.@fwren – @mrcolorful – @deyoderized – Those are the same reasons/ways we use a credit card.  Thanks for chipping in.@gokellyjo – PAPER?  What’s that?    Something funny happened to us recently.  As we were going into a cut-rate grocery store, there was a sign on the door saying that their credit/debit card machine was down.  Dh and I checked how much cash we had and decided we could only get a very few essentials, so we grabbed a few things, carefully adding it up in our heads.  We were just simply amazed at how many people were unconcernedly filling their carts –do these people really carry that much cash??  And suddenly, as we were waiting in the checkout line, it occurred to dh–DUHHHH, we could write a check!  We hadn’t even thought of it.  That shows how very little we write checks! Ever since our bank started a per-check charge a few years ago, we really cut back on that and don’t even think of it.  We went back and filled our cart.     So really, the general feeling I’m getting is that the reason most people use debit is because they tend to overspend on credit?  If anyone has a different reason than has already been shared, I’d love to hear it!

  13. Anonymous says:

    @homefire – I keep up with my checking account in Quicken.  I always know exactly how much I have at any given time.  Debit is just easier for me.  And it is quicker.  You never have to fool with an ID.  You simply punch in a PIN and there is the added convenience of getting cash back if needed. 

  14. I guess, just not using credit would be a good reason? The whole not borrowing thing is a huge factor for me, something that I try to live by (something I SHOULD have been living by a few years ago, lol)… I just like knowing that it’s MY money, coming out of MY account, and that I’m not indebted to anyone by using it. I guess that I like the idea of using a debit card just so that I’m not indebted to anyone and am not borrowing money, regardless of whether I have the good credit or not to do it. This is a good question, though. I’ve never really put that much thought into it until now, and it’s fun to read what others have to say about it.

  15. @homefire – well sometimes you can actually get the benefit of the card brand in the form of a warranty that you would not get from paying cash if you use credit. You also can benefit from having use of your money for a couple more days because it is processed as credit. However, sometimes it can work backwards.  If you had a deposit on Friday and had a low account balance before then, your sale may be denied because your line of credit is probably backdated a couple days. There is no keystroking potential if you use it as a credit card rather than debit either, because you aren’t entering you pin information. So in most cases, you are better off using your card as a credit card-as long as you understand it really isn’t a credit line.BTW, my wife just had the bank cancel her debit card and replace it this month. She had used it as a debit card at a service station and there was a fraud alert sparked through a third party processor. She encountered no fees and the bank (a real community bank) alerted her about the problem and reissued a card. I agree with the one poster saying I would NEVER use a debit card online. I use BILL ME LATER and Paypal for online purchases where possible and cards with a low line  where those are not available.

  16. Oh, I have to respond to your using cash thing: My husband and I use cash as much as possible. To pay bills, when we go to the store, out to eat, whatever. Maybe an antiquated way of doing things nowadays, but something that we’re more comfortable with. We do have checks, and we have a debit card, but we only really use our card to get money out of the atm (at our bank so there is no fee, lol), and we just have the checks because they came with the account. Being that I have bad credit and am trying to fix this, I like knowing that I’m not digging the hole deeper by adding on to that credit. Plus (now that my comment is just going to start saying what I already said in my last comment), I really do feel that people are called to stay out of debt. That God has said not to borrow. Then again, I’m not schooled on the bible, so I don’t know how things change from book to book or from old to new. I just understand the gist of it. I’m sorry. I’m a rambler.

  17. homefire says:

    @apennieformythoughts – I really admire your effort to get out of debt.  We are firm believers in that, too, but have just never extended it to credit card use.  We pay our credit card every month, just as we pay our electric bill or phone bill, and I guess I don’t see it any differently than those.  That’s really one of the reasons I asked this–because I was trying to figure out if it actually IS different.  I appreciate your input!@Hecalmsthestorm – @ProvokingThought – I can get cash back with my credit card, I almost never have to show ID, and ours was replaced when it was compromised recently.  The more I read here, the more I think they are basically exactly alike, other than the fact that I only have to actually take the money out once a month with a credit card, while a debit card would require a little closer monitoring, which of course is not a bad thing!  One thing I’m curious about, if anyone knows.  Our credit card has some little perks, like insurance against theft and fraud, like @deyoderized mentioned, and their insurance actually covered a wrecked rental car once. Is there any kind of insurance with debit cards?It’s been quite interesting to read all the replies.  Thanks for the input!

  18. computerguyw says:

    Hmmm.  I read an article once where I think credit might cost the retailer more to process, since it’s based on a flat fee per transaction.  That could be why many places won’t let you charge less than $10.Where it gets confusing to me is that, I think my credit card can actually be used as a debit card, if I gave it a PIN.  I don’t want to do that, since I’m pretty sure a PIN purchase counts like a cash advance and charges a huge amount of interest right away.I use my debit card (as a debit card, so I don’t have to sign anything) a few places.  I only have one credit card that’s paid off in full every month during the grace period (before interest accrues).  I like to use it for gas and food, since it gets 2% cash back for those items, which is almost like a built in discount.

  19. Hutch5 says:

    I’ve always done credit cause that’s what my husband told me to do!! 🙂 I think it has something to do w/ overdrafts and such…  I don’t really know to be honest. I’m so not the money person of our family. Now, I’m curious and am going to ask him! 🙂 lol.  

  20. nidan says:

    Same as using a check, but without the paperwork. But you have to be careful because if it’s too easy you can be tempted to over spend your budget.If you current way of purchasing works for you then I recommend staying with that.

  21. Gail2 says:

    Good thoughts and solutions. We use our debit card, easy to keep up with balance knownig the money is used at same time as purchase.

  22. ShineOn1983 says:

    You are fine with a credit card IF you are never late or can’t pay your bills for some reason. I do not believe anyone should ever use credit cards. I am convinced that to do so is a clear vilolation of God’s word in that it is poor stewardship in so many ways, but that is just my two cents. This is also from someone who agrees nearly 100% with Dave Ramsey, and has seen many examples of how very dangerous credit cards can be, even if you pay them off every month.

  23. ShineOn1983 says:

    Oh, and yes, some debit cards do have insurance and fraud protection. Ours does, but it is a visa debit card so it is treated just like a credit card, accept that it comes directly out of our account. I could go on for hours and hours about this subject! I am very passionate about it!!:)

  24. georgene says:

    Thanks for stopping by and posting. Did you like the book you posted above called, Do Hard Things? I’ve heard some wonderful reviews but haven’t read it for myself.

  25. homefire says:

    @ShineOn1983 – Okay, if you can go on for hours…    Please tell me what’s the difference between waiting until the end of the month to pay your credit card and waiting until the end of the month to pay your electric and phone bill?  I have never seen the difference.  Both are a promise to pay at an appointed time for services or goods rendered.  Why is one “clear vilolation of God’s word in that it is poor stewardship” while the other is okay?  Or do you also pay your phone and electric bill ahead so that you can be sure to have no debt?  This is what I’ve been wanting to ask–I was hoping someone would be willing to answer it.Obviously, if you tend to overspend by using a credit card, it’s only sensible to not use one, but since I tend to be an extreme tightwad who watches every penny (and dh is, too) I can’t get too excited about giving up the convenience of planning exactly when all those purchases are coming out of my account, as opposed to trying to remember to keep tabs on it constantly.  And then of course, there’s the cash back feature that actually saves us money by using a credit card–which just doesn’t seem like poor stewardship at all to me!  Our credit card also once saved us about $7500 on a car rental mishap, which was a true lifesaver for us at the time.  And can you even rent a car without a credit card, I wonder?

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