What is difference Between A Credit Card and Debit Card

Last Updated on July 1, 2024 by admin

Do you want to learn the differences between a credit card and a debit card, though both have similar functions which can be used to make purchases without paying in cash or writing a check but they are not the same.

This post will provide the Difference Between Credit Card And Debit Card at a glance we will also take a look at Advantages and Disadvantages.

Read: How to apply for capital one credit card and get approval

What is Credit Card

Credit cards allow cardholders to borrow money from the card issuer up to a certain limit to purchase items or withdraw cash. This Can be used on all merchant outlets and online.This gives you access to a line of credit issued by a bank, while debit cards deduct money directly from your bank account.

Card holders get rewards when they’re used such as discounts, travel points, and many other perks unavailable to debit cardholders…. It also provides a financial backup in case of an emergency such as an unexpected job loss, hospitalization or car repair. Some consumers use them to pay bills

Using a credit card responsibly helps boost your credit score with a history of expenditures and timely payments and by keeping their card balances low relative to their card limits. You get a bill or statement each month with details of the transactions you have made.

Credit cards have multiple fees applicable,these include joining fees, annual fees, late payment fees, and bounced check fees among others. Most credit cards offer 100% lost liability protection. So, you are not liable for any unauthorized transactions made.

  • A Line of Credit: Think of it like a short-term loan issued by a financial institution (usually a bank). You are given a credit limit, which is the maximum amount of money you can borrow on the card.
  • Pay Later: You can use the card to make purchases or withdraw cash. The money you spend is not immediately deducted from your bank account. Instead, you are billed at the end of each month.
  • Interest and Repayments:
    • If you pay the full billed amount by the due date, you won’t be charged interest.
    • If you carry a balance (don’t pay off the full amount), you’ll be charged interest on the outstanding amount.

Key Features of Credit Cards

  • Credit Limit: The maximum amount you can spend on the card.
  • Interest Rate (APR): The percentage of interest you’ll be charged on any balance left unpaid.
  • Minimum Payment: The least amount you must pay each month to keep your account in good standing.
  • Rewards: Many credit cards offer rewards like cashback, travel points, or discounts.
  • Fees: Some cards have fees like annual fees, late payment fees, or foreign transaction fees.

Benefits of credit cards

1. Spending Flexibility and Convenience

  • Access to instant funds: Credit cards provide a line of credit, allowing you to make purchases even if you don’t immediately have the funds in your bank account.
  • Emergency Usage: Can be a lifeline for unexpected expenses like medical bills or car repairs.
  • Online and International Purchases: Easier to make purchases online and while traveling abroad compared to some other payment options.

2. Building Credit History

  • Improving your credit score: Responsible credit card use, like paying bills on time and keeping your balances low, can positively impact your credit score.
  • Access to better loans: A good credit score may qualify you for loans with lower interest rates and better terms in the future.

3. Rewards and Perks

  • Cashback: Many cards offer a percentage of your spending back as cash.
  • Travel Points/Miles: Cards often come with points or miles that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and other travel perks.
  • Discounts and Offers: Credit cards can have exclusive partnerships with retailers, offering special discounts and promotions.

4. Purchase Protection and Security

  • Fraud Protection: Credit cards typically have stronger fraud protection measures than debit cards, limiting your liability in case of unauthorized charges.
  • Dispute Resolution: Credit card companies may assist in resolving billing disputes with merchants.
  • Extended Warranties: Some cards offer extended warranties on purchased items.

5. Additional Benefits

  • Travel Insurance: Certain cards offer complimentary travel insurance for accidents or lost luggage.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Premium cards may provide access to exclusive airport lounges.
  • Concierge Services: Some cards offer concierge services to assist with things like travel bookings or reservations.

How Credit Cards Work

The Basics

  1. Line of Credit: When you are approved for a credit card, you are given a credit limit. This is the maximum amount of money you can borrow with the card.
  2. Purchasing Power: You can use the card to pay for goods and services at merchants that accept it. You’re essentially borrowing money from the card issuer each time you make a purchase.
  3. Billing Cycle: Your credit card company sends you a statement each month (usually a 30-day cycle). This statement lists all your transactions, as well as your total balance, minimum payment due, and payment due date.
  4. Repayment: You must pay at least the minimum payment by the due date. You have options:
    • Pay in Full: No interest will be charged if you pay the entire balance by the due date.
    • Partial Payment: If you pay less than the full amount, interest will be charged on the remaining balance.

Key Concepts

  • Interest Rates (APR): The annual percentage rate (APR) is the cost you pay to borrow money on your credit card. If you carry a balance, interest will accrue.
  • Grace Period: Most credit cards offer a grace period, during which you can pay your balance in full without being charged interest. This period is typically 21-25 days long.
  • Minimum Payment: The minimum amount you must pay each month. It’s crucial to pay more than the minimum to avoid racking up high interest charges.
  • Credit Utilization: How much of your available credit you’re using. Keeping this ratio low (below 30%) is essential for maintaining a good credit score.

Also read: Chase Credit Card: How to apply and get approval fast

Advantages of Credit Cards:

  • Convenience: Credit cards are widely accepted, making it easy to make purchases online, in stores, or while traveling. They eliminate the need to carry large amounts of cash.

  • Rewards and Cashback: Many credit cards offer rewards programs that provide cashback, travel miles, points for merchandise, or discounts on purchases. These rewards can add up and save you money over time.

  • Building Credit History: Responsible credit card use is one of the best ways to establish and improve your credit score. A good credit score opens doors to better financial opportunities, such as lower interest rates on loans.

  • Fraud Protection: Credit cards typically offer better fraud protection than debit cards. If your card is lost or stolen, you are not liable for unauthorized charges beyond a certain limit.

  • Grace Period: Most credit cards offer a grace period, typically 21 days, during which you can pay your balance in full without incurring interest charges. This can be a great way to borrow money for short periods without paying interest.

  • Emergency Funds: Credit cards can serve as a financial safety net in emergencies, allowing you to cover unexpected expenses when you don’t have enough cash on hand.

Disadvantages of Credit Cards:

  • High-Interest Rates: Credit card interest rates can be very high, especially for those with lower credit scores. If you carry a balance, the interest charges can add up quickly, making it difficult to pay off your debt.

  • Temptation to Overspend: It’s easy to overspend with credit cards because you’re not immediately seeing the money leave your account. This can lead to accumulating debt that you can’t easily repay.

  • Fees: Credit cards often come with various fees, such as annual fees, late payment fees, foreign transaction fees, and balance transfer fees. These fees can add to the cost of using a credit card.

  • Debt Trap: If you’re not careful, credit card debt can easily spiral out of control. Missing payments or only making minimum payments can lead to a cycle of debt that’s difficult to break.

  • Impact on Credit Score: While responsible credit card use can improve your credit score, irresponsible use, such as late payments or high credit utilization, can damage it. This can make it harder to get approved for loans or credit in the future.

What is Debit card

A debit card is linked to your account and it’s used to make purchases. When you use your card, the cost of the item you’re buying is automatically deducted from your account to pay for the goods and service.

This can help you keep your spending in check, since you usually need the money available in your bank account if you want to use the card to pay for things. Many credit cards charge an annual fee, debit cards don’t.

Debit cards give you easy access to your cash. You can use your debit card to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Some retail stores will also allow you to get “cash back,” charging more than your initial transaction to your checking account and giving the cash to you with your receipt.

With debit card, You can access any amount up to what is currently available in your savings
bank or current account.while credit card you get up to the pre-set credit limit on your card

In simple terms, a debit card is a plastic card that allows you to make purchases by deducting funds directly from your checking account. It’s like having a direct line to your money, giving you the power to pay for things in-store, online, or even over the phone.

Using a debit card also helps free you from the interest burden that can come with using credit card. Unless you’re paying off the balance every month, whatever charges you make accrue interest. And that can end up costing you a lot.

With debit card, you won’t earn any points, or cash back on purchases made with your card. Because rewards can save you money, depending on how you redeem them, you could be missing out if you only spend with a debit card.

Benefits of debit card

One of the key benefits of using a debit card is that it helps you manage your finances more effectively. Because the funds are directly taken from your bank account, you can only spend what you have available, helping you avoid overspending and accumulating debt.

Additionally, debit cards are often used for everyday expenses such as groceries, gas, and bills, making them a convenient and secure way to make purchases without the need to carry cash.

Another advantage of using a debit card is the added security features they offer. Most debit cards come with a personal identification number (PIN) that you must enter to authorize a transaction, providing an extra layer of security against unauthorized use.

1. Spending Control and Debt Avoidance

  • Limiting Overspending:

    Since you can only spend what you have in your checking account, debit cards help prevent you from overspending and getting into debt.

  • Budgeting Aid: Using a debit card can make it easier to track your spending and stick to a budget.

2. Convenience and Security

  • Wide Acceptance: Debit cards are accepted by most merchants, both online and in-store, making them a convenient payment option for everyday purchases.
  • ATM Access: Debit cards allow you to easily withdraw cash from ATMs when needed.
  • Security Features: Debit cards have security measures like PIN codes, chip technology, and fraud monitoring to protect your transactions.

3. Lower Fees

  • Fewer Costs: Debit cards generally have fewer fees than credit cards, potentially saving you money in annual fees, late payment fees, and other charges.

4. Simplicity

  • No Credit Checks: You don’t need a credit history to get a debit card, making them accessible for those new to financial products.
  • Straightforward Usage: Debit cards are easy to use and understand, with no complicated interest rates or repayment periods.

5. Potential Rewards

  • Rewards Programs: While not as common as credit card rewards, some banks offer debit cards with cashback or other minor benefits.

Advantages of Debit Cards:

  • No Debt Accumulation: Unlike credit cards, debit cards only allow you to spend money you already have in your account, preventing you from falling into debt.
  • Budgeting Aid: Since you can only spend what’s in your account, debit cards can help you stick to your budget and avoid overspending.
  • Lower Fees: Debit cards typically have lower fees than credit cards, with some even being free.
  • Easier Access to Cash: You can use your debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs or get cashback at stores.
  • Wide Acceptance: Debit cards are widely accepted at most merchants and online retailers, making them a convenient payment option.
  • No Credit Check: You don’t need a good credit history to get a debit card, unlike credit cards.
  • Safer Than Cash: Debit cards offer more security than carrying cash, as they usually have PIN protection and fraud protection features.

Disadvantages of Debit Cards:

  • Limited Fraud Protection: While debit cards have some fraud protection, it’s typically less extensive than credit card protection. If your debit card is used fraudulently, you may be liable for some or all of the losses.
  • Spending Limits: Your spending is limited by the amount of money you have in your checking account.
  • Overdraft Fees: If you try to spend more than you have in your account, you may incur overdraft fees, which can be costly.
  • No Credit Building: Using a debit card doesn’t help you build credit, unlike responsible credit card use.
  • No Rewards: Most debit cards don’t offer rewards programs like cashback or travel miles, which are common with credit cards.
  • Limited Purchase Protection: Debit cards usually don’t offer the same level of purchase protection as credit cards, such as extended warranties or price protection.
  • Holding Periods: When you use a debit card for certain transactions, like hotel stays or car rentals, the merchant may place a hold on funds in your account, which can limit your available balance until the hold is released.

What is the differences between credit cards and debit cards

Here’s a table outlining the key differences between credit cards and debit cards, followed by some additional explanations:

Feature Credit Card Debit Card
Source of Funds Line of credit from a financial institution Directly linked to your checking account
Spending Limit Predetermined credit limit Limited to the balance in your checking account
Impact on Credit Score Impacts credit score (good or bad, based on use) Generally does not directly impact credit score
Interest Charges Interest charged on outstanding balances No interest charged
Fees Can have annual fees, late fees, etc. Fees usually less common and lower than credit cards
Purchase Protection Typically offers stronger protection May have less purchase protection
Rewards Often come with cashback, points, or other perks Rewards less common, may have minor incentives

Further Explanation

  • Spending Power: Credit cards extend a line of credit, allowing you to borrow money. Debit cards only allow you to spend what’s already in your bank account.
  • Debt Potential: Credit cards can lead to debt if not managed responsibly. Debit cards help prevent overspending and debt accumulation.
  • Credit Building: Responsible credit card use builds credit history. Debit cards have little to no effect on credit scores.

When you might choose one over the other:

  • Credit Card: When you need flexibility for larger purchases, want to build credit, or desire rewards and purchase protection benefits.
  • Debit Card: When you want strict spending control, avoid interest charges, or don’t qualify for a credit card.


Q1: What is the fundamental difference between a credit card and a debit card?

A1: The main difference lies in where the money comes from when you make a purchase:

  • Credit card: You’re borrowing money from the card issuer up to a preset credit limit. You have to repay the borrowed amount later, potentially with interest.
  • Debit card: The money is directly deducted from your checking account. You can only spend what you have available in your account.

Q2: What are the advantages of using a credit card?

A2: Credit cards offer several benefits:

  • Build credit history: Responsible use helps establish and improve your credit score.
  • Rewards and cashback: Many cards offer rewards programs, cashback, or travel miles on purchases.
  • Fraud protection: Stronger consumer protections against unauthorized transactions.
  • Grace period: A period where you can pay off your balance without interest.
  • Emergency funds: Can be used for unexpected expenses.

Q3: What are the advantages of using a debit card?

A3: Debit cards also have their advantages:

  • Avoid debt: You only spend what you have, preventing overspending.
  • Lower fees: Generally lower fees compared to credit cards.
  • Easier access to cash: Withdraw cash directly from your checking account at ATMs.

Q4: What are the disadvantages of using a credit card?

A4: Credit cards come with some drawbacks:

  • High-interest rates: If not paid off in full each month, interest charges can accumulate quickly.
  • Potential for debt: Easy access to credit can lead to overspending and debt.
  • Fees: Some cards have annual fees, late fees, or balance transfer fees.

Q5: What are the disadvantages of using a debit card?

A5: Debit cards have a few disadvantages:

  • Limited fraud protection: Less protection compared to credit cards against unauthorized transactions.
  • No credit building: Doesn’t help you build or improve your credit score.
  • Spending limits: Limited to the funds available in your checking account.

Q6: Which is better for everyday spending?

A6: It depends on your individual preferences and financial situation. If you’re disciplined with your spending and want to avoid debt, a debit card is a good option. If you want to build credit and earn rewards, a credit card might be a better choice.

Q7: Can I use both credit and debit cards?

A7: Yes, you can use both types of cards to benefit from their respective advantages. It’s good practice to use a debit card for everyday spending and a credit card for planned purchases or emergencies.


About admin

Meet Ogbeide Frank, popularly known as perere, a blogger who loves writing about finance and Tech. He studied Business administration at the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma and Mobile Communication at Orange College Malaysia .Frank have worked as a banker and consultant in variety of Nigeria agencies For Advertisement, Content marketing andsponsored post: contact : kokobest04@gmail.com
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