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Credit Vs. Debit

Last updated January 7, 2020

College students and first-time bank account users will often opt for a debit card because they can be easier to manage and help you stick to your budget. More experienced and financially stable users may opt for the credit card to help build their credit history and allow them to make more expensive purchases. At the end of the day, it all depends on which card you can get approval for, your understanding of how these two cards work and how responsible you are with keeping track of your spending.

Debit cards and credit cards both offer variations of convenience but the fundamental difference between a debit card and a credit card is where the cards withdraw money from. For a more in depth break down of credit and debit cards, check out Power of the Swipe: Debit vs. Credit

Debit Cards

Pros

  • Are linked directly to your checking account and draw money from it when you make a purchase. This means you can only spend the money you have available in your account and keeps you from overspending.
  • Requires a pin number. If someone were to steal your debit card, they wouldn't be able to easily use it and access your money

Cons

  • Pin numbers can be stolen and accounts can be abused.
  • Transactions require action from the bank and from the merchant (the seller) of your purchase to clear it and update your account. This can be confusing because until a purchase has cleared, you may still see the funds in your account and end up overspending.

Credit Cards

Pros

  • Allow you to borrow money from the bank up t your credit card limit. Your credit card limit can vary based on your bank and credit history
  • Help you build credit history so that when you're ready to make a larger purchase like a house or car, you have proof of accountability.
  • Generally, require a signature or ID verification for large purchases.

Cons

  • Require approval from your bank to use or apply for
  • Can easily amass debit if you don't pay the full balance on the card every month
  • May prevent you from renting an apartment or getting loans for larger purchases like homes, cars, or even school if you are in debt

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Credit vs debit informational flyer

CSUDH

Paying for College

How To Split Bills With Roommates
Money Moves Every College Student Should Make

See the whole series

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