Credit Cards | Banking 101 | Checking Account
Debit vs. Credit Cards
Aside from the design and the account numbers on your cards looking different, it’s easy to think of a credit card like a debit card – but there are quite a few key differences. In this article, we’ll outline the similarities and differences so you can become a more financially savvy shopper.
what is a debit card?
Your debit card is linked to your checking account and allows you to make purchases without using cash or writing a check (although some older merchants may still require that). Basically, a debit card is a plastic replica of your checkbook.
Most newer debit cards also come with cool perks like cash back or rewards points. Some cards also have ATM access and give you access to get cash back from most merchants, both of which allow you to avoid making a trip to the bank anytime you need some cash!
what is a credit card?
A credit card is basically a loan in card form. A lender issues you a line of credit up to a certain amount (your limit), and you can spend however much of it you’d like. The appealing part of a credit card (compared to a personal loan) is that you only repay what you use. But – don’t forget – when repaying the lender, you may incur additional fees and interest. Plus, there isn’t a set term, so you can keep your credit line open indefinitely
Psst… when making a payment on a credit card, the lender usually allows you a grace period between 21-30 days after the close of the billing cycle to repay the money used without interest. After the grace period, you’ll start accruing interest charges unless you have a credit card that offers a 0% interest rate.
In the United States, credit cards operate under four different networks (also called card associations) – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. The networks are what link the funds being transferred from credit card holder to merchant.
what’s the difference between a debit card and credit card?
should I have both a debit card and a credit card?
You should 100% plan to have a checking account with a debit card but getting a credit card is entirely up to you and your financial needs. Having a credit card can be beneficial, especially for those larger purchases you can’t completely cover at once or to help build your credit.
However, not using your credit card smartly can also get you into trouble with mismanaging your money. Before you consider opening a credit card, make sure to check out our article on What You Should Know Before Getting a Credit Card>
WAIT… WHY DO I NEED A DEBIT CARD?
We’ve created a whole article about why it’s important to have a checking account, but here are the highlights:
- Checking accounts will securely hold your money
- You have 24 / 7 access
- You can easily track your spending
- You can deposit your paycheck directly into your account
- You have unlimited transactions and withdrawals (unlike some ATM cards)
- You can open multiple checking accounts and use each for different needs (i.e. bills, vacation, everyday expenses)
As always If you have any questions or comments, our Customer Service Representatives are here for you. You can send an email, give us a call at 704.375.0183, or visit any of our branches.
As the Content Specialist and author of the Learning & Guidance Center, Yanna enjoys motivating others by uncovering all that's possible in the world of finance. From financial tips and tricks to ultimate guides and comparison charts, she is obsessed with finding ways to help readers excel in their journey towards financial freedom.
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