Did you know that fewer and fewer people are paying cash when they make purchases? A recent study found that instead of paying cash for purchases, more and more consumers are turning to debit cards.
This survey also found that only 8% of the people queried feel that cash will be the payment method of choice by the year 2020, which is down from 14% last year. Plus, 3.4% of consumers turned away from the use of credit cards, which fell by 3.2%.
Why debit cards?
Debit cards have several advantages over paying cash and even over the use of credit cards. Having a debit card eliminates the need to carry a big wad of cash that could be lost or stolen. Using a debit card at check out is much simpler and faster than writing a check. However, like a check, you can often get cash back as well. I routinely get $40 cash back when I go through checkout at my favorite supermarket, which eliminates the need to go to my bank’s ATM or to pay a $2 or $3 fee to use an ATM that’s out of network.
Better control of your finances
The advantage that a debit card has over a credit card is that it makes it easier for you to keep control of your finances. It’s extremely easy to run up a mountain of credit card debt almost without knowing it. You can’t create debt when using a debit card. Since it pulls money directly from your checking account, it’s impossible to spend more than you have in your account – at least without having an overdraft, which could be very expensive.
Debit cards are generally accepted anywhere that accepts Visa or MasterCard. This can be especially helpful if you’re traveling and try to write an out-of-state check.
The downside of debit cards
Unfortunately, debit cards also have their downsides. The fact that you can’t spend more then you have in your checking account can be both good and bad. It can stop you from running up debt but also prevent you from taking advantage of a great sale on that gorgeous side-by-side refrigerator when you don’t have enough money in your checking account to cover its cost. In addition, debit cards do not have the same degree of protection as do credit cards. If you find an erroneous charge on a credit card, your liability is generally limited to $50 or less. And when you dispute the charge, it will not appear on your statement until the issue has been resolved. In comparison, if you find an erroneous charge on a debit card, it could be as many as 60 days before you get your money back.
Which would be best?
Both credit cards and debit cards have their pluses and minuses. If you have a problem controlling your spending, you might choose to have a debit card. On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who could use a credit card wisely, meaning that you would pay off your balance at the end of each month, a credit card could be a good choice. Of course, the best option of all would be to use a credit card for those every day purchases but to have a credit card for those times when you would want to take advantage of a huge sale on a big-ticket item.