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There is no clear answer to this and it can depend on personal situations, but there are some definite benefits to picking a credit card over a debit card. That might come as a shock to some people, but it’s true.
Anyone with a bank card of any kind knows the reality of debit, which is that is money that comes directly right out of your checking account. Therefore if you spend too much with debit, your bank account is going to be in a lot of pain and that’s a risky move for anyone that isn’t totally secure with their finances.
With credit, you can spend what you theoretically don’t have yet. To some people, that is like playing with fire. But when used wisely and sparingly, credit is an acceptable investment and a safe venture.
Plus, using credit to build a good and strong credit score is absolutely vital in today’s world from doing everything to applying for a job to buying a car or securing a mortgage. With debit, you are not given such an opportunity. The money simply slips out of your account and onto the “other side.”
Although recently, as reported by the Wall Street Journal and several other news outlets, there has been a wave of consumers choosing debit over credit, credit cards still have certain attachments and incentives that you just can’t obtain with a debit card.
In the past, debit card programs have had rewards with their usage, it’s true. But that’s becoming the staple of a bygone era as more and more banks look to remove these in a way to cut costs, credit card reward programs seem to be “where it’s at” right now.
And you may want to consider the retailer’s feelings in this matter. Whenever you swipe “credit,” the POS has to attach a small fee (about 2%) to your transaction. That will add up over time- yes, the credit card companies love this little extra being generated right into their fattening pockets - and appears in the prices of the items that you are buying, etc. So in the end: you suffer.
Another fear about debit card usage is the fact that if the wrong person gains your PIN number, they can have uncharted entry into your very sensitive bank accounts, and nobody wants that sort of situation arising. At least with credit, you need not worry about a PIN number.
It all comes down to what you, the user, feel comfortable with. Perhaps consider switching it up from time to time, or investing in one of the new credit/debit cards that are gradually wading their way into the market.
All major credit card companies, such as MasterCard, tend to offer both programs.