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Credit Vs. Debit | How Does It Impact Me As A College Student?

Last updated August 17, 2023

Credit Vs. Debit | How Does It Impact Me As A College Student?

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. Keep reading for an in depth break down of credit and debit cards: 

Debit Cards - Pros and Cons


  • 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
  • Doesn't require you to carry cash which can be easily lost 
  • Can process the debit card as a credit card 
  • Sometimes at retailers, debit or credit cards are preferred


  • 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.
  • Can overdraft on bank account to pay additional fees

Credit Cards - Pros and Cons


  • 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.
  • Allows you to place deposits to book hotel rooms, rent a car, or any other large purchases


  • Tempting to spend or buy things that you may not have enough money in the bank to purchase 
  • Require approval from your bank to use or apply for
  • Can easily amass debt 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
  • High-interest rates to pay off purchases. In the long run, you can significantly more for an item than the sticker price. 
  • If you have debt, you may be get into an awkward situation of reaching out to family and friends to help for debt. 

Click the below image to enlarge it:

Credit vs. debit infographic

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