The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.
5 Epic Reasons to Choose Debit
Lower Your Debt (and Stress) Level
Avoid Germs & Hassles
Become a Budgeting Pro
It Can Be Replaced
Debit cards are one of the most popular forms of payment. They’re convenient, easy to use and are accepted nearly everywhere. But credit cards and cash are just as good, right? Naturally, there are perks and limitations to every payment method. However, debit cards have a few distinct advantages over other ways to pay — including these five superior benefits:
1. You Won't Go into Debt
The average Arizona resident has $6,053 of credit card debt dragging them down, according to Experian’s annual Consumer Credit Review.1That can be a pretty big hole to dig yourself out of, especially if money is tight. In contrast, when you use a debit card for purchases, the money is automatically withdrawn from your bank account (typically your checking). That means no going into debt for your purchase!
Granted, there are smart ways to use credit cards; for example, paying bills to accumulate rewards points and then transferring funds to cover your credit card bill before it’s due. However, using a debit card is the quickest and easiest way to ensure that you won’t accumulate unnecessary debt.
2. You're Not Paying Interest
Credit cards give you purchasing power that you might not have otherwise. The downside is that if you don’t pay your credit card bill by the initial due date, you’ll begin accruing interest. To give you an idea, if you charged $1,000 on your credit card with an 18% interest rate and paid $100 per month toward your bill, you’d end up paying an extra $91 in interest.
With a debit card you pay for a purchase immediately, so you’ll never accrue interest charges! Keep in mind that you don’t want to spend more than you have in your account, though, since you could potentially get charged overdraft fees. As a rule of thumb, try leaving $100 in the account attached to your debit card as a cushion. Mentally consider that $100 “untouchable” and you’ll avoid the potential for overdraft fees or declined transactions.
3. Bye, Bye, Cash and Checks!
Remember the good ‘ol days when you could handwrite a check to pay for your groceries? If you were born after 1985, probably not. But trust us, it wasn’t the quickest or most convenient way to pay for something on the fly — especially if you were the person stuck in line behind a check writer. Cash is awkward, too: There are sanitary concerns, not to mention having to dig in your pocket or purse for lint-covered exact change.
Enter the debit card, which addresses every issue associated with using cash or checks! Just swipe your debit card or add it to your digital wallet and tap your phone to a card reader. Type your PIN number if prompted, and you’re done! Minimal (if any) contact required. You can also connect your debit card to Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and use it with person-to-person payment apps like Zelle and Venmo.
4. It's Easier to Stick to a Budget
If you have a budget in place and you regularly update it, pat yourself on the back! Using a debit card rather than a credit card can help you stay on track toward your monthly budget. You’ll be less tempted to overspend or live beyond your means, since you can only charge the amount currently saved in your account.
If you don’t have a budget plan in place, now is a great time to build one. An easy way to get started is by implementing the 50/30/20 rule, where half of your earnings covers basic needs like shelter and food, 30% goes toward wants, and 20% is allocated to savings. For more budgeting options, check out our article on how much of your paycheck you should save.
5. If You Lose It … It’s Not Gone Forever
If you’ve ever lost your wallet or had it stolen, you know how painful the experience can be. Lost cash can’t be replaced, and unless a Good Samaritan returns your wallet intact you can kiss that money goodbye. If your debit card is lost, on the other hand, you can call your credit union or bank immediately to have it replaced.
One benefit of debit over credit is that a scammer wouldn’t be able to use your card for any transaction that requires a PIN number (like withdrawing money from an ATM). If a thief uses your debit card for transactions and you report it quickly, your financial institution may be able to reimburse some or all of your missing funds!
Your debit card is one of the most versatile items in your financial tool belt. It can save you from interest charges and help you maintain your budget — and you can even add it to your digital wallet for contactless payments! Plus, you can get a debit card that matches your personality, like our Arizona Cardinals card or our Furry Friends card featuring an adorable puppy and kitten cuddling (it’s paw-some!). Whatever card design you choose, you’ll get the same great benefits of using debit over cash or credit.
Debit Card Safety & Security
At Desert Financial, your Visa® Debit Card is fraud-protected and we act quickly to resolve qualified fraud claims. To protect your debit card, review your checking account regularly, report fraudulent charges or lost/stolen cards immediately, keep your debit card in your possession at all times, protect your PIN number and only use your debit card with trusted vendors. For more information about fraud, scam and identity theft protection, visit DesertFinancial.com/Security.