Credit cards hold huge advantages to other forms of payments such as debit cards. They include the purchase and fraud protection and the fact that using them allows you to build the credit required for major purchases in the future such as a home or new car. As long as you pay all of your bills on time there’s absolutely no reason to use a debit card even though talking heads will tell you there is “no positive side” just to invoke fear.
With credit cards the catch is making sure you do not miss a payment and organizing which ones to use for what purchases or services. You may want to keep some cards locked in your safe for only online purchases and carry the ones that give the most points and miles in your wallet or in your Apple Wallet or Android Pay. Using a debit card vs. a credit card makes you vulnerable to having your entire checking account emptied. Then you have to fight with your bank to get your money restored.
- Online Purchases should always be made with a credit card. If you are buying from a smaller, less established company you are taking more of a risk. Using a Debit card is not preferred in terms of safety.
- Small Items with Small vendors such as a flea market, food festival, or street vendor. Sometimes its hard since they may impose a minimum purchase amount.
- Flights should always be booked using a credit card because some card issuers include travel insurance and others give more miles for travel.
- Car Rentals are a must to do on a credit card due to the rental car insurance provided by most credit cards. Although Discover Card has recently stepped back from this benefit most other issuers offer this security. You may also have a large deposit to deal with that would tie up a bank account or debit card.
- Hotel rooms should be booked on plastic for the same reason as rental cars due to the deposit and incidentals you have such as room service or room damage. If there’s a dishonest person working behind the desk they may charge your room to your card then pocket the cash. If you later notice and have proof you paid cash they may lie and say it was a clerical error. If you didn’t keep that receipt or they didn’t give you one showing you paid cash?
- Purchases made on the phone to make sure they make it to your front door.
- Big Ticket Items such as washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, and laptops that could carry purchase protection and extended warranties for over a year from their standard warranty. You also want an easy way to keep track of big-ticket items such as iPhones, DVR’s, and big screens so that if your home is robbed you can print out your credit card statement and show your insurance company.
- Any International Charges should go on a credit card due to the huge forex fees you would pay using debit cards and foreign currencies. Get a credit card that either reimburses your forex fees or does not include them at all for international travel and only take other cards as backup in case you lose this card.
BONUS TIP: Here’s a gif that can prepare you for using any of your credit or debit cards. Make sure you have a list of them all (last 4 digits) and the bank’s lost and stolen number in your phone!