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Tips For Choosing Between Paying With Debit or Credit

Written by Steve Repak on May 6, 2013 in Credit  |   87 comments

The choice seems simple. However, the way you choose to pay can impact your credit score, credit report and even your identity—for years to come. Steve Repak explains the pros and cons of debit and credit cards.

credit score, credit reportConvenience is everything in today’s fast-paced world, and credit and debit cards are a big part of that convenience. Deciding between using a credit card or debit card is more than just a pay now or pay later scenario. This decision can impact your credit score, your credit report, and even your identity—for years to come.

There’s no clear-cut rule for choosing which way to pay, but there are a few factors you may want to consider when reaching for your wallet.

Credit cards

When you use and pay down a credit card, you’re helping build your credit file. And unlike a debit card, a credit card is not linked directly to your bank account, which means you’re lessening the risk of someone getting access to and draining your funds.

When using most credit cards, money is not taken immediately out of your account. That money is due by the end of the billing cycle, which ranges from 25 to 45 days. You will be billed for all unpaid charges plus interest. Because purchases aren’t automatically deducted, you may have a better chance of contesting any fraudulent charges that may be made to your credit card account.

If you are concerned with establishing credit, you may want to consider a secured credit card (one where you post a security deposit with the issuing bank, usually at least equal to your credit line). The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers some other good ideas on how to establish credit.

Another perk to credit cards is the rewards they offer. More often than not, credit cards offer better rewards than debit cards, and some can be used to buy products or pay back some of your credit card balance. Be careful, though—in some cases, these rewards may lead you to spend more than you really can afford.

It’s also easy to get carried away with credit cards. Using credit cards makes some people feel like they are not spending any money, which can lead to overspending. Do not focus on rewards or rely on the convenience of credit cards if these perks are causing you to overspend.

Debit cards

If you can’t stand the thought of paying interest, debit cards are a good option to consider because the money is taken directly out of your bank account. In addition to avoiding interest, you can also avoid hefty charges associated with late payments.

And unlike having many credit cards, which can potentially negatively impact your credit score, having many debit cards will not hurt your score. With that said, debit cards will not help you build your credit, either—a factor to consider when deciding which form of payment to use.

While carrying a debit card is safer than walking around with a pocket full of cash, you still run the risk of fraudulent use, either in the form of ATM withdrawals or purchases. Those activities will affect your account immediately, and you can easily remain unaware long enough to experience a significant loss. This is especially true in the case of identity theft, where thieves use your stolen information to access your accounts and, sometimes, create new ones.

Most debit cards do provide a little protection from fraud, but the coverage depends upon which bank you use, in which state you live, and how quickly you report the loss of the card, among other things. There are some banks that offer a zero liability policy for fraudulent use, but there is often a yearly fee for this benefit, and sometimes there are stipulations of which you need to be aware. Be sure to check with your bank to discuss how it handles identity theft and fraud issues.

Also note that if you overdraw your debit account—you make a purchase with a zero balance in the account—you can be hit with substantial fees. That is extremely important to remember if you have automatic payments deducted from your account or you are not keeping track of your spending. To prevent overspending, you may want to record each of your debit card transactions just as you would a payment using a check.

When making your choice, keep in mind that debit and credit cards are tools that, if not used responsibly, can easily damage your financial health. Be thoughtful and choose your method of payment wisely.

Steve Repak, CFP®, is a professional speaker and the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money.

87 comments

  1. roger says:

    a credit card attracts no interest if you pay it in full each month

    • Anonymous says:

      I do just that. All monthly spending is done with a rewards card. I pay off every month, but somehow, Equifax hasn’t caught on yet. I owe nobody else, but my score goes up and down each and every month.

    • Bob says:

      Paying off your credit card balance every month eliminates the big advantage of using a debit card i.e. no interest. Using a credit card is a lot riskier.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Roger, great tip, thanks for sharing.

    • JoAnne says:

      Right on!

    • Judy says:

      What about selecting credit when I use my debit card? Can that hurt my credit score?

      • John says:

        Banks want you to use your debit card and press “Credit” on the pin pad as this allows them to collect on the interchange fees; meaning the banks reap increased profits. Business typically want you to use your card as debit as it physically costs them less money per transaction.

        With that said, running your debit card as credit will never cause anything to post back to your credit bureau.

    • Warren says:

      Simple… When I use my debit card I always use it as “credit” that way I don’t use my pin and run a further risk. I keep the reciept till I arruve home and shred them after making a note in my checkbook.

      My credit and debit cards are NOT RF sensitive. They have to be swiped.

      Best…

    • Barbara says:

      If you set up automatic payments of your credit card bill and have it paid in full each month, you don’t incur interest or late payments. It might also make you more aware of what you spend if you know your bank account will automatically be charged with whatever you spent. Viewing your credit charges online on a regular basis, say, at least once a week can help you catch fraudulent charges early.

  2. mark vader says:

    Misleading title. Made it sound like there were going to be readons to choose credit when paying with a credit/debit card to prevent fees or other scenarios…

    • Seth Fulmer says:

      Yeah I know – that’s why I clicked it – I usually choose Credit because until a few months ago, my bank offered rewards on my debit card if you chose credit when asked(now it’s just to credit customers, but I’m still in that habit) and I wondered – how can ANYONE tell how I’m paying a bill with what type of currency? Next thing they’ll be able to tell if I pay w/ Euros, Dollars, or traveler’s check if overseas somewhere.

  3. S. Killebrew says:

    Is there a difference if you are asked if you want to use your debit card as a debit or credit at the time of a purchase ?

    • Keisha in B-more says:

      In my experience if you choose debit your bank charges you a fee for having to put in your pin number. If you choose credit you have to sign.

    • M. Verdi says:

      If you use your debit card as a credit transaction, the vendor pays a charge to the credit company, usually around 3% of the transaction. If you use it as a debit card, your bank may charge you $1 or more for a non-network ATM transaction. This is why most POS terminals default to debit and make it unclear how to switch to credit (such as having to hit cancel). The seller doesn’t want to be hit with the service fee.

      There may also be better protection in place when using the card as credit, but that’s probably going to depend on the fine print in your agreement with your bank.

    • Sundi says:

      Using as debit will subtract from your account immediately. Also, you usually have to enter your pin which could be a risk.

      Using the card as credit will take 1-3 business days so be careful with this if you sometimes have a low balance in your account. You may forget about the incoming charge and cause an overdraft in your account.

    • E Pastrana says:

      The difference is to the institution issuing the card. If a person chooses to pay Debit, the money is taken from that person account leaving too little or no benefit to Visa, Master card and so. If the person chooses to pay credit, the benefit the credit institution gets a larger chunk of the transaction making them ultra-zillionairs.

    • Bob says:

      If you answer ‘debit’, then it is a debit transaction as if you used a ordinary debit card. If you answer ‘credit’, then it is a credit transaction as if you used an ordinary credit card.

      • M. Bell says:

        That’s a bit misleading because choosing credit only delays the money coming out of you account by a day or so. If it was a credit card transaction, it wouldn’t come out of your bank account ever, unless you chose to use your account to pay the credit card company, of course.

      • Tom says:

        Actually that’s not true, Bob, at least not with my cards. If I use a debit card, it comes directly out of my bank account regardless of how it is handled at the register. I always choose the “Visa” option when I use my debit card to avoid transaction fees and having to enter a PIN. But it still acts as a debit card and draws directly on my account.

  4. Deirdre says:

    I use a credit card from BB&T bank. I can pay my bill online from my BB&T account or pay at the bank. Any inquiries can be made at the bank. Most other banks you have to call customer service. After I use my credit card, I transfer what I spent from my checking to my credit card I line. Basically , I use my credit card like a debit card. I get the perks with none of the downfalls!!!!

    • Unique _1 says:

      Thanks for posting that Diedre. I am with a credit union and will never do business with a bank again..can you say ripoff??! I love the option to use either credit or debit with my card :)

    • M. Bell says:

      While I despise BB&T for several other reasons, convenience is definitely a great perk! Other banks and/or credit unions offer the same services but some obviously don’t, so it’s always good to check first. Like you, I’m HUGE on the convenience factor.

  5. Mona says:

    Why are you pushing people to using credit? What did people do 100 years ago before credit cards?

    • Bob says:

      They didn’t use credit cards, they paid with cash. Try making an online purchase with cash. If you use a debit card to make an online purchase, you are a fool sticking your neck out.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Mona, great point. Some people find credit cards more useful, but you’re right that it is important to use them responsibly. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dragon says:

    this report is more of a reminder of what people already know then some inside help/info.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Dragon, I’m glad to hear you’re already informed of credit and debit options. We hope this blog was useful to those who are still learning the basics though. What information about credit and debit cards would you like to learn? We could cover those in future blog posts. Thank you.

      • M. Bell says:

        Sadly, I have to agree with Moderator on this one. People are becoming less and less educated about responsible spending habits, as witnessed not so long ago with the mortgage crisis. But one has to wonder, is it ignorance of the facts or simply IGNORING them?

  7. Irma Smith says:

    A credit card can be used just the same as debt card and not cause you interest payments:

    IF, AND ONLY IF, EVERY CHARGE MADE ON THE CREDIT CARD IS SUBTRACTED BY YOU IN YOUR CHECK BOOK REGISTER THE SAME AS YOU WOULD DO WITH A DEBIT CARD.

    When the bill for the credit card becomes due, you can pay that bill in full and that causes you to pay zero interest. The money is available to pay it because the money for payment was already subtracted from your checkbook.

    The added benefit is if you use a cash award credit card the credit card company will actually pay you some cash for using their credit card for purchases. This is a win/win situation to your budget.

    • JayD says:

      great tip with the checkbook register for credit purchases!

      • Dave 1 says:

        Irma,
        Great tip, I have been doing this for years and each month when my checkbook shows low balances, I cease spending, just as though I would if it were a check, or debit. I do not “overdraft” myself. Typically I can earn about $200 real dollars each year as the card pays a percentage back for each purchase, which I cash in once per year. Also I pay everything, utilities, insurance, groceries, cheeseburgers etc. I rarely use cash, and only use debit when it is the only card accepted. If you stick with this kind of plan, and have self discipline, it is the only way to go in my view!

        • Bren1 says:

          Thanks for the suggestons Dave. When the credit card is used to pay expenses already in the budget then there is NO reason why the balance should not be paid off at the end of the billing cycle. The good use of credit is reported to the bureau while money is being properly managed.

    • Sundi says:

      Why do people think they are never charged interest? You aren’t charged for your balance- the interest is determined based on your purchases for the month. Look at your statement and see.

      • Mary says:

        My credit card doesn’t charge me any interest if I pay off my balance every month. That way, no balance rolls over into the next month, and hence, no interest is charged. The credit card company WILL charge interest on any balance that remains unpaid at the beginning of the next billing cycle, though.

      • M. Bell says:

        That’s only if you wait until its due before you pay it. The trick is paying IN FULL before the billing cycle ends.

      • Tom says:

        If you pay your balance each month, you pay no interest. I charge thousands of dollars a year and never pay a penny in interest.

      • optimusprimerate says:

        People think they are never charged interest because… they are never charged interest. At the end of the billing cycle they pay off their balance before the due date.

        Are you suggesting you do that and still get charged interest? I don’t know if there is any company out there doing that, but if that’s the case – why would you ever keep that account? That’s not how ‘normal’ credit card accounts work.

      • Kitty421 says:

        As long as the balance is paid in full every month, there is NO interest charged to you. If you carry any sort of balance, yes there will be interest charged. I always pay in full each and every month and track my spending to the penny and have never been charged for interest.

  8. Irene B. says:

    You can pay using your Debit card as Credit. Does this affect your credit score? The funds are coming out of your account within one or two days. I like using my debit card as a credit card because I do not have to use my Pin Number. It reduce the risk of someone stealing my pin number.

    • ByteBowser says:

      No, it does not affect your credit score. When you have a check debit card attached only to a checking account, your bank is not extending you credit. Most of these cards now include either the Visa or MasterCard insignia and can be processed through a debit system or the respective credit system, but regardless, charges will be paid from your checking account balance. Direct debits may be instantaneous, whereas credit systems may take a few business days. In any case, some type of authorization is provided by your bank for a specific amount, and this authorization may be given even if your balance is below the amount in question (banks love charging penalty fees). Most online transactions, either credit or debit, are much safer than giving your card (or card info) to a person to process.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I might not write everything down like Irma reminds us we should so I just use my credit card for almost everything and pay it off with online banking at the end of the week. It gives me nearly every advantage of using a debit cards plus the security of not handing out my debit card or checking account number regularly.

    I have not had the bank refuse multiple payments each month.

    I do still have to monitor the impulse to but things that I do not need.

  10. anonymous says:

    I didn’t like the misleading title either – I’m interested in knowing whether or not it is better to use your debit card as a credit (foregoing the input of your pin number), because I keep hearing different things about that. This article is for young people just starting out, which I’m not, so I enjoyed and thought the subsequent comments were far more interesting than the article.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      You’re right that this covers the basics of credit and debit card options, which is great for people still learning. I am really glad the comments were helpful for you, though. It’s great to see the Equifax Finance Blog community helping each other. Thanks for posting.

    • rita says:

      I completely agree! And I want to know how much coverage I will have if debit card gets stolen. The bank is very vague, saying that of course I’m protected, but it just takes longer.
      I wonder if using it as a credit card enhances the protection, but I suspect not. It’s always stacked in favor of the company.

  11. DeGrunt says:

    Nothing new here.

  12. CGraham says:

    I will never have a debit card again. I experienced identity thief that depleted my entire checking and savings. The thief started with small amounts and then after 2 weeks started making large purchases. If the money was not in my checking account it was automatically with drawn from my savings. The debit card does not have an automatic notification of “strange” purchases that most credit cards now have, and thus I was never notified about these purchases being place in Porto Rico. I was made aware of the issue when my debit card was denied. I immediately called the bank and informed of the depletion of my assets. I froze all my accounts and after a lengthy process was able to regain most of my lost savings. I now have immediate notifications whenever large purchases are made on my credit cards and I have shredded all debit cards. There is no need to carry a debit card, set up payment schedule with your bank to prevent interest charges. And always check your account weekly.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story so we can all learn. You’re right that placing alerts on your account can help you learn about fraudulent charges faster. Thanks again for sharing.

  13. Eva says:

    I believe that using a credit card is way better than using your debit card where you are certaily at risk of having identity theft issues if you are not careful of guarding your bank account numbers. With the credit card you are able to pay in full each month and avoid the interest payment and like Irma stated above if you have credit cards that have rewards you are compensate it. So to me is a no brainer. Credit Card it is.

    • M. Bell says:

      Credit cards are just as risky as debit cards when it comes to fraudulent activity and possibly even worse.

  14. Jim says:

    I use my credit card for every purchase, but record it the same day in my running Excel spreadsheet so the computer checking balance drops every purchase as if it was a debit purchase. So it’s like I am using debit but with more reward perks and the security credit cards offer. The real bank balance is not affected until it’s time to pay the charges when due, sometimes 45 plus days later depending on the bill cut date and charges due date. I pay the full balance when due without a problem, because mentally the money has already been deducted from my computer checkbook balance and is marked as unavailable in my real bank balance. It works great for me, drives my wife crazy but I love it. I also use my rewards as credit towards my balance. I actually feel like I am stealing from the credit card companies. Love credit cards!

    • M. Bell says:

      And that’s precisely why no one should gripe about people using credit cards irresponsibly lol. If everyone used them in a responsible manner, there would be no more rewards programs, nor interest free purchases because the CC companies would go bankrupt. They rely on impulsive/irresponsible–or sadly, people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own but didn’t quite save enough for such an unexpected life event– to make the CC companies enough money to be able to offer cool perks. Social Darwinism! Lol

  15. TommyZ says:

    When using a bank debit/credit card, my banker suggests using the option to process as a credit transaction. This requires a signature rather than a PIN number, and can prevent criminals from obtaining your PIN.

  16. jak says:

    I tend to use debit when purchasing small items like groceries. Credit is preferred when you need a way to refute a vendor’s bill or go against them for shoddy products. Debit transactions normally do not give you that action. I have been saved, more than one time, by using a credit card to pay for larger ticket items.

    • M. Bell says:

      I posted basically the same thing you had already said, in my earlier post. Oddly enough, the greatest benefit of choosing to use a CC wasn’t even mentioned in an article that was written on the subject lol. Glad someone knows their rights!

  17. ssss says:

    In response to Mona: Paying with cash is still one of the best options, but not if you are trying to establish a good credit score. The easiest way to do that is to pay for items with a credit card and then pay it off when the statement comes in. If you pay it off on time and in full, there are no interest charges. Just don’t spend the cash you saved by using a credit card. You will need that money to pay off the credit card bill.

    • M. Bell says:

      I’m assuming you mean debit when you refer to “cash.” If not, I wholeheartedly disagree bc there is literally NO theft protection with cash and you can’t buy anything online, which tends to be where a consumer can find the cheapest prices. I’d ONLY suggest using cash to someone who had the financial maturity level of a 7 year old.

  18. Bob says:

    People do not get into financial trouble by using either a debit card or a credit card. People get into trouble because they cannot control their spending, (the gotta have it now!!!) syndrome.

    • optimusprimerate says:

      While some do get into trouble because of situations beyond their control, in general you are correct. The METHOD OF PAYMENT is not the problem – YOUR DECISION TO SPEND MONEY is.

  19. MinnesotaVegan says:

    I use one debit card and three credit cards. Debit card at my banks on-site atm only. One credit card for utility accounts only (garbage, phone, etc., with automated payments). One credit card for online use only. One credit card for in person use only. When my online or in person card gets abused and they give me a new number. I do not have to notify all my utility accounts.

    • MinnesotaVegan says:

      I pay cash if bill is under $20 and all restaurants. I pay all credit cards from my bank website completely each month.

  20. Cashless says:

    Just pay with cash.

  21. Deb in NH says:

    I have a sizable credit card debt will it damage my credit fica score if I transfer to 0 interest cards till I get it paid off?

  22. Charlie S. says:

    I use debit for Groceries primarily as I have Direct deposit so if I need cash, I can get it when paying for groceries. I use a credit card for most everything else, unless it is a small amount and I have cash to pay it. Come to think of it, I rarely write a check anymore, as most everything gets paid online.

  23. Cornelius Jackson says:

    This is a no brainer. Use a credit card all the time. One, if you need a refund on a purchase credit cards are more easily “credited”. Two, if you pay your full credit card balance every month you will not be charged interest. Three, as the article points out, in case of fraud you have more protection via credit cards. Lastly, and there are some debit cards that offer “rewards”, but as a whole debit cards don’t offer rewards for spending like many credit cards (for eg. miles or points).

    Its a no brainer (this article wasn’t too informative)…always use credit cards and make sure you pay your balance every month. I literally cringe anytime I have to pay cash and I never use my debit card -b/c I don’t earn Rewards for spending. *Caveat, find cards that waive any annual fee (make sure to cancel the card or call creditor to “waive” annual fees when approaching 12 mos.) or use cards that charge no annual fee. Simple.

  24. Michael says:

    On a different note…….. I’m not sure exactly how a person’s credit card(s) affect your credit score, but I do have a friend that works in the industry. I am told that in order for a credit card to report, in a positive manner to the 3 bureaus, one must have the used balance under 75% of the entire value of the card…Also some of you like to pay off your credit balance at the end of each month. I tested this method with Equifax’s score estimator and found that if you pay too much or too little, your credit score could decrease. Just a little advice for everyone…….If I am wrong, feel free to correct me.

  25. holly says:

    I got very frustrated with the banks and all of the charges. My last bank posted debits before any credits, so even if I made a deposit to cover a purchase made with my debit (if for some reason, I was going to be “short”) I ended up being charged an overdraft fee. They charged me an overdraft fee of $35.00 because they put through a debit which made my account at that time negative by 18 cents. Earlier that day I had made a deposit of over $1,000.

    I was so upset by that I closed all my bank accounts and now use a “debit” card (it can also be used as credit, but will not help my score) and my benefits are automatically deposited and it provides “real time” balance. Even if there is a transaction pending the deduction shows as having been made and the available balance is always up to the minute.

    This has made life so much easier for me and because it is not attached to a bank, if the money isn’t there to cover an entire purchase, it will not allow the purchase, thus avoiding “overdraft” fees. Actually, this makes me think do I really “need” this item, or do I just “want” it. I have actually saved money since I quit using “BANKS”.

  26. GENE says:

    I go into my bank every 8-12 months and say i lost my DEBIT card .I get a new card with a new card number. This way you cut down on the odds of someone getting your info .Also for online purchases.

  27. Myron says:

    Just my take on C.C. vs Debit Card. I think it is generally best to use as c.c. transaction on a debit card at the point of sale transaction because two things; 1. You sign for the transaction and can help in proving it was not you who purchased or signed in a dispute. 2. Your PIN number is not potentially compromised.

    Using an actual credit card for purchases is fine but either deduct that amount in your bank ledger and treat as a debit card and pay it off at end of month or simply ensure your entire monthly purchases are paid off and avoid most of the interest charges and accumulating of a balance.

    One point that no one has made when making purchases at grocery stores, brick & mortar stores, etc. Whenever you make a purchase at check out and you desire to have some cash given back to you for a courteousy clerk, etc.; the only transaction that will allow cash-back is a direct bank “debit” transaction and not a credit card.

    So, this is my $.02 worth.

  28. Lindalu says:

    I love all of the comments! I also have had good luck with my credit card company covering bogus deals when the vendor won’t. A friend of mine is taking a European Vacation on rewards points since she purchases everything on one credit card and pays all purchases off weekly through her on-line banking. What a sweet deal! Can anyone recommend a credit card that has reward points that can be used on most airlines, travel, etc.? I particularly like platinum cards to cover car rental insurance as a perk. Thanks.

  29. Elise says:

    I purchase groceries using the debit card only when I need to get some cash – it is much more convenient than having to make a special trip to the bank for cash. Thank you for sharing.

  30. William N. says:

    Mr. Repac
    A little about myself. I owned my own business until the downturn of this nation. My credit was hit hard trying to hold on as long as possible. (Should have a holiday for the small businesses that were lost!)
    I have bad credit. My question to you is… Why wouldn’t my credit/debit card effect my credit score? To me it’s the same as a secured. Except (of course) for the deposit that the bank makes interest off of. The bank has my direct deposit every week. Just as a standard or secured credit card I can’t go over my limit.
    There appears to be A BOOK OF GRAY AREA’S for our credit scores. I give a bank $300.00 it can positively effect my credit but…. I give this bank a direct deposit every week with only having credit/debit card…. It does nothing? Please explain why.

    • Steve Repak says:

      I definitely understand where you are coming from and hear what you are saying. One of the reasons a debit card does not help build your credit is because debit cards are not reported to the credit rating agencies. When you use your debit card, the money is taken out of your account immediately unlike when you use a secured Credit card. For example let’s say I had a secured credit card with a $500 limit. If I went to the gas station and put $45 dollars’ worth of gas in my car and used my secured credit card to pay for it, the money is not taken out immediately from my account. At the end of the billing cycle I would receive a statement. I could choose not to pay the $45 dollar balance and only make a minimum payment unlike a debit card where the $45 dollars would have be taken out of my account when I used it. Secured credit cards work almost like traditional credit cards but one of the differences is instead of having my name (credit history) as my collateral, I will need money deposited in the account to serve as collateral just in case the bill doesn’t get paid.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I have just read all the comments regarding Debit vs Credit. I pay all CC’s in full every month(I go 2 4 most bet. usages). I use my debit for groceries & minor purchases during the month. I use my CC for large purchases that might make it easier on me to pay off in 2 mos. But I always pay everything so that I don’t incur interest or late fees. It is the late fees that one has to watch, cause they will get u everytime. We are rebuilding our credit after the worst of the recession & guess what u can do it. Be careful, be aware, & just buy what is absolutely necessary to live your life & if u have xtra left over each month, put it into savings (if u don’t have one), put it into investments, just don’t spend it on stuff u really don’t need. U will find that there is $$$ for that night out, that u can buy that super toy your 10 yr old is just dying to have, Oh prom is a piece of cake. The counsel is be careful, be viligiant, & talk with your spouse, partner, family member or whoever u share living expenses with.

  32. DCR says:

    How come when I pay off my credit cards each month, it still effects my credit score? Is it because they do not come due all at the same time and EFX doesn’t know that all (though a large balance when taken at random during the month) are being paid off? Is this the same as revolving credit?

  33. Joy says:

    How do thieves get your pin number when you use your debit card?

  34. Anonymous says:

    For online purchases and bill pay, I use a prepaid debit card which has the Mastercard logo and my name printed on the card. I have a certain dollar amount direct deposited into this account, and my remaining balance into my primary checking account. The debit card for my checking account along with the checking account # is never used online. That’s what the prepaid card is used for, there is just enough money in the account to cover the bills and misc. online purchases. Prepaid debit card never has any overdraft fees either or fees for inssfufficient funds. It either goes through or it doesn’t.

  35. vicki says:

    Nice try. I used my credit card to pay for moving van, and the amount used lowered my fico score by 5 points. That was the only reason given. I paid it off immediately but THAT hasn’t shown up aa a positive.

  36. Rick says:

    I typically use my credit card to pay for most anything over $20.00 now. I do get a cash back bonus when over the period of a year has amounted to in excess of $500.00. Prior to this way of paying for things I used my debit card and earned nothing. I do sometimes make more then one transfer from my debit account to pay off the balance on my credit card but this seems to only increase my credit score. In conclusion I would say, pick a credit card that pays well in bonus cash back and use it for most of your purchases, set it up so it automatically draws the entire balance from your checking each month thus avoiding any interest charges or late fees.

    • EFX Moderator, EM says:

      Rick, great tips, thanks for sharing. It can be really helpful to take advantage of credit card rewards. Thanks for sharing your strategy with the Equifax Finance Blog community.

  37. Kevin J says:

    I like using my credit card because it is convenient and I get my rewards. My drycleaner would perfer me to use a debit card since it is cheaper for him but I will continue using my credit card so I can get my rewards. I pay off my balance each month so I dont get charged any finance charges. Good article and mostly good comments.

  38. J.D. says:

    Everyone here has made some great arugments in one way or another. And although this isn’t relevant to selecting debit or credit when using a debit card, keep in mind that if you ever get in trouble with a debit card, all you have to do is pay an overdraft fee. My bank charged 25 dollars. However if you go over on the credit limit of a card or if you make a late payment (by 30 days or more) it will drop your score considerable. Keep in mind that a payment history is the biggest factor in a credit score and thus can hurt you the most.


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