The Credit Cards vs Debit Cards Debate

by Guest Blogger on June 29, 2010

I have never understood the debate between credit or debit card usage. After all, credit and debit cards are just pieces of plastic. That is about the only similarity to me.

I will say it up front, I am a chronic debit card user. Very seldom does cash hit my purse. In my part of the world anyway, debit transactions have been a way of life for a very long time. I rely so heavily on debit that when the lines are down or there is a cash only line at a store, I get very confused. How will I leave with my new found treasures?

The Credit Cards vs Debit Cards Debate

Seriously, though, the decision to use debit cards or credit cards for purchases is made with little thought about credit rating or how long I may have to get my money back if something should go amiss. Can I afford the item today? Is it expensive enough that I may want to utilize the extended warranty that comes with my platinum card? Am I purchasing online? Am I prepared to pay interest on this item, or can it wait until I physically have the funds in my EverBank savings account? Is this a necessity for my household that simply can’t wait for the funds to be available?

No matter the economic situation, aren’t these considerations that go with any major purchase decision? I hope so. If not, perhaps we need to start with a wants and needs talk before any such debit/credit chit chat. My teenagers hate the wants and needs talk. I will admit though, that the convenience of debit cards have helped me in the teaching department over the years.

Watch Your Debit Card Usage

The ultra-convenience of a debit card can be a tough lesson. Simply swiping a card and not having the actual money leave your wallet is almost too good to be true. It’s just too easy to do. Reality hits when that bank statement arrives, though, doesn’t it? Where did that $500 go? A couple of $50’s here, $35 there, and you are down to an uncomfortable balance, even for a teenager.

Because I love my internet banking, keeping track of my debit purchases is easy. If my financial institution didn’t have a great online component, I would probably use more cash. I need to know where my balances are, so I prefer debit: the instantaneous-out-of-my-account feature is something I like about it.

For me anyway, the downfall of using a debit card, is in part, the convenience of using it as well. Sounds backwards, but I have come to rely so heavily on it, that I will literally go for groceries with a few dollars on my person. And if the machines are down or something goes amiss, it can be inconvenient and let’s admit it, embarrassing. I am sure in major shopping centers, the grocery store has an ATM in house to aid these situations, but in my world, the ATM is located at a more inconvenient location. I guess that’s why my store still accepts a check in case of an emergency.

In day to day life, I don’t even carry a credit card with me. Impossible to use the shiny little jewel if it is securely locked in my house. Hiding the credit cards certainly helps to alleviate any expensive lapses in judgment. If the money isn’t in my account, I can’t spend it. Works for me.

Contributing Writer: Carol

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