Debit cards and credit cards may look very similar, but they definitely have their differences. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so it’s important that you know the difference before signing up for either one. Here is some information about credit cards, debit cards and how they differ.
What is a Credit Card?
A credit card is a payment card that is linked to a credit line, which you will need to pay back at a later date. This is what separates a credit card from a debit card, as a debit card only uses money that you already have in your bank account. Once you use your credit card to purchase something, you will have to pay back that exact amount before the end of the month. If you don’t, the balance will carry over to the next month, and you will start being charged interest.
There are a couple of different types of credit cards, including rewards credit cards, cashback credit cards, student credit cards, business credit cards and more. There are also a handful of annual fees that you may have to pay on your credit card, while debit cards usually don’t require such fees.
Pros and Cons of Credit Cards
One of the biggest advantages credit cards have is that you can purchase something without actually having the money in your bank account at the time of the purchase. Credit cards are much safer against theft than debit cards since they are not directly linked to a bank account. Some credit card companies will even grant purchase protections, such as an additional warranty on a purchased item that may last longer than the warranty given by the item’s manufacturer.
Cons of credit cards include the fact that if you do not pay back the money you spend on your credit card, you will be stuck with a lot of debt. The debt will also have interest, so you may end up having to pay more than you spent in the first place. Another negative is that poor management of your credit card can lead to a bad credit score, which can lead to higher interest rates and fewer bank loan options. You could also end up with a negative credit card balance, which is when the credit card issuer owes you money. However, experts at SoFi Invest say that “If you see a negative credit card balance, it’s not something you necessarily need to worry about.”
What is a Debit Card?
As previously stated, a debit card is a payment card that is linked directly to a bank account. There are other types of debit cards, such as a prepaid debit card that isn’t connected to a bank account but rather has money preloaded on the card.
Pros and Cons of Debit Cards
With a debit card, you won’t have to worry about repaying the money that you spend. Some disadvantages include the fact that there are no cashback or rewards options like there are with credit cards. Also, purchasing things with your debit card will not improve your credit score.
Both these cards are useful in certain situations, so it doesn’t hurt to have both in your possession. Neither is better than the other; it all depends on what you need your payment cards to do.