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Always Choose Credit, Not Debit, When Swiping At These Locations

Think twice before you swipe. That’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to deciding if you want to use a credit card or a debit card at certain locations. Although both cards offer convenience, debit can turn out to be a bad choice in certain situations. Simply put, credit cards are “credit”—other people’s money you can use now, and then pay with your money later.

Debit, on the other hand, takes money from your bank account to cover a payment—your money, right now. Unfortunately, debit cards don’t offer the same consumer protection as credit cards, which means using a debit card could set you up for losing your money more easily, especially if you pull the card out at any of the following riskier locations…

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The Supermarket

While someone in the grocery store is calling for “cleanup on aisle three,” your bank account could be cleaned out. Grocery checkouts have become targets for criminals with card skimmers; in February 2018, skimmers at Aldi supermarkets in suburban Philadelphia gained access to and stole debit information from multiple victims. In addition to offering more protection from skimmers, credit cards often provide incentives such as additional points or cash back if you pay with plastic.

Photo: Pexels/Adrian Agawin

Where You Book Travel

Bad news travels fast, which is why you often hear stories about stranded passengers desperate to recoup their money after their discount travel provider has gone out of business. If you use a debit card to pay for tickets and the travel company shutters its doors, your money is gone—it’s flown the coop. And to add insult to injury, it’s your responsibility to try and get it back. Use your credit card to book, and the credit card company will try to get your money back on your behalf.

Photo: WikiMedia Commons/Ausi TCHEm Lamiw

Furniture And Appliance Stores

Don’t get yourself in a hot mess when you’re buying that new fridge. Big-ticket items such as electronics, appliances, or furniture should be purchased with a credit card, not a debit card. Your credit card might provide built-in purchase insurance, cash back benefits, or other rewards.

Photo: State Parks

Expos And Trade Shows

Sure, that free trial seemed like a window of opportunity when you were strolling the aisles of the home show, but now you’re thinking better of it. If you used a debit card, you might find it difficult to cancel; what’s more, companies with your debit card information can easily siphon cash from your bank account.

Photo: Pixabay/AhmadArdity

A New Business

If you don’t know much about a new restaurant or business, make it your business to use a credit card instead of a debit card so that you can take advantage of protections offered by the credit card company, if need be. Use your debit card only after you’ve determined that a business is trustworthy.