Credit card and Debit card are the most useful financial element of our life. Whether you are in a restaurant or in a multiplex, if you have low cash in your pocket, you can pay any bill you want just with a swipe. The invention of credit and debit cards are really useful in your daily life. Now you can even add your cards into your digital wallet to pay with your mobile devices using apps like Apple pay, Google wallet etc. But no matter how useful it is, still many people don’t know the basic differences between credit and debit cards. Today in this post I’m going to revile all the details about credit and debit cards so that from the next time, you be sure which one actually fits your needs.
To understand the carding system, we first have to understand how every financial transaction works. You see, there is always two sides of every payments you made. Either you have the money in your pocket to pay for the thing you need or you have a good friend who have the money and you can borrow it from him for a certain time. So, if you have the money to yourself, you can purchase whatever thing you need, no question asked. What if you don’t have the money, but need something desperately. You have two options. Either you can wait to save some money and then purchase it or you can borrow the money from someone and then pay him later when you have it. But if you borrow any amount of money from anyone, there are certain extra cost that gets added to it. Like if you don’t pay the money within a fixed amount of time, you might have to pay a good amount of interest on the amount you have borrowed or the person/organization can sell your stuffs to get back the money.
Well, how these relates to cards?
Credit and debit cards hold two completely separate meaning, though their names are almost similar. If you have a debit card and you make any transaction using your debit card, it’s like paying the bills from your own money. When you make any transaction using the debit card, the amount gets immediately deducted from your savings account you have with that respective bank whose has authorized your debit card. So, no matter how many transactions you made, if you have that cash on your account, it will go smooth without asking a single question.
On the other hand credit cards works just like small loans so that you can still do financial transactions when you don’t have enough money in your bank account or in your pocket. So, it’s like you are borrowing the money from your bank for a certain time with a promise that you will pay it back within a certain time mentioned by your bank on your credit card statement. Credit cards are just like any other bills you get on monthly basis.
What if I don’t pay the credit card bills on time?
Well, if you do that then you might face a lot of trouble including selling your beloved things by the banks or even seize your belongings until you pay the money. Even you can be sent for imprisonment if the bank tagged you as a willful defaulter. Generally if you miss the deadline of paying your credit card bills, banks starts adding an interest rate upon the money you have borrowed so you have to pay more than you have borrowed. Also banks in financially strict countries (like India) don’t provide credit cards to anyone before evaluating you assets, so that they can be sure of getting the money back if you become a non performing asset to the bank. If you keep missing the deadlines for a long time, the bank will first sent you a notice asking you to pay the remaining amount. If you still didn’t pay bank, the bank will go to court and will seize your belongings to get back their money.
Then should I not take credit cards?
Well that is completely up to your needs. If you are a person who needs money in middle of months, but sure of that you can pay them back on the beginning of next month, then credit cards won’t be a problem. But if you are shopaholic person who loves to do shopping without even thinking about the strength of his own pocket, you better stay off from credit cards.
What about international transactions?
There is a myth that only credit cards works for the cross currency international transactions and debit cards are just for domestic use. This is a completely wrong idea and there is no such barrier between credit cards and debit cards transactions. In some countries (like India) who has strict financial policies and not much people are well educated in terms of banking knowledge, banks generally blocks international cross currency transaction on both credit and debit cards to reduce the cyber fraud attacks on the cards. But these is something forcefully implemented by the banks and this is not a general problem with debit cards.
Another problem with international transaction is that some country uses 3D Secure Pin, an extra layer of security to reduce the fraud attacks. So, by default the card stayed blocked for all other payment gateways who does not uses that security layer. Please note that not all country does this to annoy their debit or credit cards users. But some country does, like India for instance. But there is always a way out and even few banks in India will allow your use your card for international transactions.
What about VISA, MasterCard etc. Who is best?
There is another myth in the worth of credit and debit card. Some say that VISA is better than MasterCard and some would say the opposite. It’s a long running debate for decades. But trust me, there is no difference between that. VISA, MasterCard, American Express etc. are nothing beside card issuer who issue international cards, so that they can be used internationally anywhere around the world, either physically or online. VISA and MasterCards are two most popular card issuer in the world, but as I said earlier, there is no special advantage on any of this cards if no extra barrier has been added by the banks on a specific country. Like in India no matter what card you have, you won’t be able to do online international transactions (except few banks) because of the extra barrier added by Indian Government and this is something card issuing companies like VISA or MasterCard can’t do anything about it.
Beside VISA, MasterCard some country does have their own card issuing authorities with their own branding, like RuPay, ChinaPay etc. RuPay cards are issued by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to provide free debit cards to the savings account holder under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and to compete with VISA, MasterCard in Indian market. These cards are good for domestic usage but useless for online international transaction due to the financial rules in India. Beside no one can do anything about it as the card issuer is also an Indian Government organization.
Are credit cards more risky than debit cards?
Well internationally most cards uses only a single tier authentication approach. So you don’t need any 3D secure pin to use it on websites. So to complete a transaction, all you need is the details printed on your card. Now if your cards get stolen or forged by somebody your credit card bills can go way up than you expected. Though if you cannot recognize a transaction on your credit or debit card statement, you can always ask your bank to issue a chargeback for that particular transaction to get back your money.
Due to all this issues countries with strict security policies uses 2 tier authentication approach by using 3D secure pin for both credit and debit cards. Beside this some country also uses chip based credit and debit cards so that they cannot be forged by any means. But from my personal experience I will say that if you do not share your card information with others and follow few basic security steps, it’s hard to forge any card. So, in short it’s not just credit cards, if you don’t know the basic security practice then anything can be risky to use.
Why most international websites ask for credit cards?
Most of my reader ask me why most international website ask for credit cards instead of debit cards and the answer is very simple, it’s because of the financial structure of most developed countries. You see, in countries like USA, UK etc. opening a bank account is very costly and even in some country, you have to pay a monthly fee to the bank to hold your money. But getting a credit card is very easy in these countries. You just need few minor approvals to get a credit card. Whereas in India, banks open a savings account for free of cost under PMJDY and even pay your quarterly interest on the amount you keep in your savings account and on the other hand it’s really hard to get a credit card, if you don’t have a decent job.
So, for this reason, most international users are familiar with the credit cards rather than debit cards. Also there are few exclusive features which only comes with credit cards, like EMI. Generally most debit cards don’t allow you to get an EMI option of payment, but credit cards will. For these main reason most international websites (as mostly they are situated in US or UK) ask for credit cards rather than debit cards. But if you have a debit card which is activated or international usage then it will work fine on all website whether they ask for only credit card or both credit and debit card. As it’s all about if your card is allowing that particular transaction or not, nothing else.
So, from next time if someone tell you any myth about credit cards or debit cards, try to tell them the truth and share the banking knowledge with others so that they can also take the right decision. Is there anything which you think I’ve missed in the above article? Do you have any exited story about your credit or debit card experience? Let me know in the comment section below. I will be happy to hear every single one of them.