Question of the Day: Debit or Credit?

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Jan 27, 2015
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Question of the Day, Credit Cards, Identity Theft, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards

Consider yourself in good company if you wonder what are the best situations to use a credit card in lieu of a debit card.  Daily Finance identifies several instances that you should always choose credit:

  1. Online purchases:  Credit card fraud is easier to fix than if someone drains your bank account with your debit card.
  2. Gasoline and Hotels:  Purchasing gas with debit card can lead to short-term hold of $50 to $200 (hotels) so if your balances are low this can lead to overdraft charges.
  3. Large purchases:  credit cards provide purchase protection if item is defective and also the opportunity to stop payment
  4. Dubious places:  if a retail establishment looks sketchy (and you still need to make a purchase there), it is easier to deal with fraudulent credit card transactions vs. debit card transactions.

So, why use a debit card at all?  Well, if you can’t control your spending then a credit card can become a weapon of mass consumption.

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Check out the NGPF lesson on Picking a Payment Method.

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.

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