Have you considered using a debit card for holiday shopping? The use of debit cards have spiked over the past few years as many people are giving up on cash entirely. Things have changed significantly as consumers with certain financial habits are starting to see how debit cards add a layer of previously unattainable protection and accessibility. Let’s explore why using a debit card can be a safe alternative for holiday shopping in further detail.
Using Debit Cards for Shopping
Debit cards are a convenient payment method for shopping. Unlike cash, a debit card is today’s modern form of payment. Whether in person or online debit cards empower consumers to make purchases quickly and easily. They boast many functions and features which we will explore later in this article. Generally, a debit card looks and feels very similar to a credit card. However, there are subtle nuances associated with each payment method.
Debit Card Vs Credit Card
Understanding the difference between a debit card and credit card is simple once you understand how each card type works. Therefore, let’s address these functional differences in further detail below.
How Debit and Credit Cards Work
When you use a credit card, you're borrowing money from the entity, typically a bank, who issued the credit card to you. In contrast, a debit card is a payment card that deducts money from an account holder’s checking account. A debit card uses money owned by the account holder as opposed to a line of credit or other financial instrument.
Depending on the financial institution debit cards and credit cards both provide fraud and spending control protections. While, legal regulations like the Electronic Funds Transfer Act may give credit card holders a bit more protection in terms of liability and reporting, debit card holders retain the same protection so long as they report suspicious transactions or stolen cards within 48 hours of discovery.
As mentioned above when you use a credit card you are using a line of credit or borrowed money from a financial entity. This means there are terms associated with that line of credit as well as an obligation to repay. Typically, credit card holders are required to pay at minimum a monthly balance plus varying interest rates on top of any other applicable fees. In contrast, debit cards do not accrue debt or interest payments.
Benefits of using a Debit Card for Holiday Shopping
Convenience and Safety
Debit cards are usually more convenient to use than cash. They allow you to purchase anything large or small so long as you have the funds to cover the purchase. For holiday shopping a debit card is a convenient method to shop either online or in person.
More importantly, when shopping during the holiday season it’s important to take safety measures. With a debit card you don’t need to lug around large chunks of cash. Instead, simply pay electronically in-store or access cash right before purchase at an in-store ATM.
Get Exclusive Deals
Everyone loves a receiving access to exclusive offers. The great news is you don't need a credit card to earn special benefits. You can get deep discounts simply by using your own money. For example, when you use your Seacoast Visa Debit Card you get access to great deals like extra discounts on restaurants, dining, and shopping.
During the holiday season fraud and overspending are at its peak. Consequently, having a payment method that helps avoid these issues is crucial to a stress free holiday season. Some financial institutions issue debit cards that include features like fraud prevention such as SecurLOCK™, which lets you block out-of-area transactions, gives you real-time access to transactions, and helps prevent fraud if your card is lost or stolen.
Allows You to Control Spending
Many financial institutions provide debit card control spending features. Control spending features are helpful for those who keep a tight monthly budget. It’s also useful during the holiday season as you are able to easily set spending limits by category. For example, you can set spending limits for gas, groceries, and holiday shopping.
No Fixed Monthly Payments or Interest Payments
From a money management perspective fixed payments and interest payments that can be avoided should be. If there is no real financial gain to be had from obtaining that leverage you’ve then created a liability. A debit card does not create a financial liability as it does not obligate account holders to fixed payments or interest payments. Moreover, debit cards provide more liquidity especially if you are on a tighter budget as most debit cards have a $0 minimum balance.
Can Be Used Online and Internationally
There may be a misconception that a credit card is required to shop online or make international purchases. However, most debit cards come powered with Visa’s debit functionality. Visa’s network expands to millions of vendors and over 200 countries. Suffice it to say debit cards provide all the purchasing power necessary to operate in today’s modern economy.
In today’s modern economy using a debit card for holiday shopping is a smart alternative to many other available payment methods. Applying for a debit card is very simple as well since most institutions do not impose rigorous credit checks or large fees for debit cards or free checking accounts. If you’re in the market for smart debt free shopping consider using a debit card this holiday season.