Credit Cards UK

Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards - UK Pros and Cons

Over the years the UK has become a nation that pretty reliant on paying for purchases on plastic, whether debit or credit card, saving us the hassle of having to carry cash around, make countless withdrawals from cash machines, or write out one cheque after another to make purchases.

Paying by card for purchases is a very convenient and easy way to shop, and save you both time and hassle. Paying by card also makes it easy to make purchases online or by phone, both of which have become popular ways to shop for anything from groceries and holidays to clothes, gifts, and more.

When it comes to which card to use for making purchases preferences can differ from one consumer to another, and there are pros and cons to using both debit and credit cards. Both offer ease and convenience, but there are some points to consider when deciding whether you are better off shopping with a credit card or a debit card.

Credit cards

Credit cards enable the consumer to enjoy credit up to a specified limit, and depending on the card can also offer other benefits such as extended interest free periods, purchase protection, rewards points, cash back, and more.

Pros of credit card use:

  1. Being able to pay for purchases without carrying around cash or writing cheques
  2. Being able to shop online or by phone
  3. Being able to purchase items and enjoy interest free credit for a specified period
  4. Being able to spread the cost of purchases over a long period
  5. Being able to enjoy credit up to your specified limit making it easier to buy the things you want without having to wait and save up
  6. Being able to benefit from rewards (subject to card used) such as cash back, rewards points, or air miles
  7. Great choice of cards to suit most needs and circumstances, including for those with poor credit to help them to rebuild their credit

Cons of credit card use:

  1. The risk of getting into high levels of debt that becomes unmanageable
  2. Risk of credit card fraud
  3. Being charged often high interest rates on balances that are not paid in full each month

Debit cards

Debit cards are usually issued by your bank, and these enable you to enjoy the convenience and ease of using plastic to pay for purchases, but you must have the necessary funds already in your account before you can spend on your debit card. You can enjoy some benefits with your debit card such as extended purchase protection and emergency card replacement, although you should check the terms attached to your particular bank in order to see exactly what sort of benefits you have.

Pros of debit card use:

  1. No risk of getting into debt, as you have to have the money in your account in order to use the card
  2. Ease and convenience of paying by card without the need for cash or cheques
  3. Being able to shop online or by phone Extended warranty on purchases with many debit cards

Cons of debit card use:

  1. No credit facility so you cannot spend unless you already have the funds
  2. Risk of debit card fraud
  3. No facility to spread repayments on purchases
  4. No additional benefits such as rewards or cash back 

Joe Kenny has been writing credit card articles for many years and can read more of his work at JSNet Credit Cards, offering some of the best credit cards available in the US today and also a fantastic selection of cash back credit cards.

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