Question: What's the Difference Between Debit And Credit Cards?

Nov 22, 2016
Debit Cards, Credit Scores, Question of the Day, Credit Cards, Identity Theft, Payment Types, Current Events, Article

Students are often confused about this distinction between debit and credit cards. Here are some resources that help show the ways in which they differ:

In fact, 43 percent of Americans said debit cards were their preferred method of payment, compared with 35 percent who liked credit cards best, according to a 2014 survey by TSYS, a credit card service company. (Fans of paying cash amounted to only 9 percent of those surveyed, with coffee shops and fast-food restaurants the most popular outlets for currency.)

But when it comes to recovering from a scam, debit cards present more difficulties than credit cards. That’s because when an imposter steals and uses your credit card, you are not out any money.


  • What do you use most frequently, debit, credit or cash?
  • What  are the main differences between debit and credit cards?
  • Which card to you think provides better protection against fraud?
  • What happens if someone steals your debit card and drains your checking account? Will you get your money back?
  • Did these videos/article change the way you think about these financial products?
  • What additional questions do you have about them?


Pair up these resources with the NGPF Project: Payment Decisions

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.