Which to Choose – Credit or Debit?

Credit or debit? Most of us are asked that question several times a week when using our debit card. But do you truly know what the difference is and which is the best choice for you?

Choosing Debit

  • You use your PIN for purchases
  • It’s an offline transaction when you check out
  • There are lower processing fees for the merchant
  • The transaction happens electronically and usually right away, or within the same business day
  • You’re able to get cash back at many merchants

Choosing Credit

  • You sign for your purchases
  • It’s an online transaction when you check out
  • Merchants are usually charged more in fees than if you chose debit
  • It’s processed like an electronic funds transfer (EFT) through credit card networks like STAR or NYCE
  • You’re not borrowing money as if you were using a credit card, the money is withdrawn directly out of your checking account
  • Transactions can take several days to show up in your checking account

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

While the choice between debit and credit may seem pretty straightforward, there are a few things to consider before choosing.

  • Account holds – Places like gas stations will put a hold for $50 to $100 before you fuel up since they don’t know how much gas you’re going to buy when you swipe. This amount could be on hold for several days.
  • Protection – Debit cards don’t have the same amount of protection as a credit card. You’re at more personal risk when you use a debit card, whether you select credit or debit when you shop. This is because fraudsters will be able to take money directly out of your checking account, which could leave you short. However, at WWFCU, your debit and credit cards are both protected if breached.
  • Build Credit – Unlike credit cards, using your debit card doesn’t help build your credit. No matter how you use it, a debit card just gives you access to the money you already have without giving you additional credit. However, overspending using your debit card could negatively impact your credit score and lead to overdrafts in your account.

Which to Choose?

All things considered, it makes no difference which one you pick. Just keep in mind you’ll have longer holds when you choose credit. However, credit unions and banks often offer rewards for using your debit card as credit.

This includes WWFCU’s Mastercard Priceless Surprises Sweepstakes where you can get entered to win trips or gift cards. Click here to learn more. For more information about WWFCU’s debit card, click here.

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