Determining the best means for spending often comes down to credit vs. debit cards. And, the decision you make undoubtedly has an impact on your spending.

Both credit cards and debit cards perform the same basic function, but each provides unique features and/or perks that lend themselves more readily to certain financial goals. Therefore, having a better understanding of credit vs. debit cards and the benefits or drawbacks they offer is the best way to make an informed choice with your financial interest in mind.

Credit Cards

Credit cards provide an accessible thoroughfare between your wallet and an approved line of credit. The amount of money you can borrow on your line of credit is determined by a few variables, including credit history, credit score, and the total number of opened credit lines. 

Most credit cards offer various perks as a result of using the card. Some of these benefits, usually dependent on the card provider, are extremely useful in daily life. However, unless the entire card balance is paid in full each month, credit card benefits will not outweigh the monthly interest rates that accompany frequent use.


  • Ease of use and spending convenience
  • High levels of fraud protection
  • Monthly payment options


  • Steep interest if not paid in full
  • May reduce future income due to monthly payments
  • Can lead to a higher personal debt ratio

Debit Cards

Unlike credit cards, the amount of money able to be spent by debit cards is directly related to your personal assets. Instead of relying on lender-defined credit limits and a paid-off monthly balance, debit cards will immediately transfer funds from your checking account to another location. Although they function similarly to credit cards, their implications are vastly different.

As debit cards do not require a line of credit to operate, they are safe and easy to acquire. Many debit cards come free with the opening of a new checking account and are frequently updated to ensure personal security.

Debit card users are allowed to have complete control over their funds and do not need to worry about monthly fees, interest rates, or other factors that are generally associated with credit cards. 

There is a variety of checking account options available, some with perks and rewards, others are no-frills accounts. Do your research to determine the best account for you whether you want to maintain a balance requirement and earn cashback, or prefer a truly free, basic account.


  • Easy and safe to acquire, usually with no annual fees
  • Provides manual control overspending
  • Does not require a credit score or line of credit


  • Varying levels of requirements and features from rewards accounts to basic accounts, so you must do your research to choose what’s best for you 
  • Debit cards are limited by the set amount of money in an account, and thus are not as flexible as credit cards
  • Debit cards may lead to costly overdraft fees or other expenses unless handled wisely

Credit vs. Debit Card: Which Should You Choose?

There is no right or wrong answer to the question over credit vs. debit cards. While each card possesses pros and cons that distinguish them from one another, the decision about which type of card is right for your lifestyle and needs is entirely up to you.

Some metrics you should use to weigh both options include:

  • Frequency of card use or daily expenditures
  • Flexible convenience vs. manual control of funds
  • Desired features like rewards and other benefits 
  • Existing debt 
  • Personal liability

Your needs should be at the forefront of your decision. Although there are many helpful points to keep in mind while exploring credit vs. debit card options, the best solution for you may not fit into a pre-defined category. 

Discover The Best Of Both Worlds With Chartway 

Chartway understands that every borrower is unique, which is why we offer many types of credit and debit card options to fit all lifestyle needs. With the outstanding customer services our members have come to expect, Chartway is proud to serve our community with cards that allow you to access your funds in the simplest possible way.

Interested in discovering how Chartway Federal Credit Union can maximize your finances?

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