Debit cards are such a big part of our everyday lives that it’s difficult to imagine how we ever managed without them. It is, however, quite easy to forget just how useful our little plastic friends are, and how much we rely upon their use in our busy, modern lives.
As more and more of us are no longer carrying cash, debit cards offer a convenient way to purchase goods without having to support the APR you get with credit cards.
With a debit card making a purchase really couldn’t be easier– you don’t have to have the right amount of cash on you, or else make a dash to the nearest ATM machine. Nor do you need to write a paper cheque and register it, or make a credit card payment at a later date. Debit cards give us flexibility and swiping a card is much faster than writing a cheque.
Using one also means you can’t spend money you don’t have and stops you from accumulating debt, unless of course you have an agreed overdraft limit with your bank. As with any type of transaction good financial prudency is always advisable and it is important to keep a record of withdrawals and transactions.
Debit cards are safe as no one can access your account without knowing your PIN number. Payzone Cards are used to provide quick and easy credit and debit card transactions from terminals using chip and PIN and offer special benefits to many businesses that use the technology.
Debit cards allow you to get your hands on cash easily, either from an ATM machine or by obtaining cash back from a purchase made at a store. Debit cards allow you to do your banking online which is another major plus point when it comes to convenience and also allows you to keep abreast of the incomings and outgoings in your account.
Another advantage of the debit card is that they can be used in cash machines all over the world, eliminating the need to bring large sums of cash with you on holidays or find locations where you can cash traveller’s cheques.
Possible disadvantages of debit card use include not getting the build up of “good” credit that you get when you make monthly repayments on credit cards, which can help you secure a mortgage or future big purchases. Credit cards also offer more security when purchasing things like flights as well as more benefits and privileges for spending and other special offers you can receive when using credit cards.
Another disadvantage is in the fact that if you don’t have an overdraft in place, you could be left unable to pay if you happen to go over your bank account balance when using your debit card. While you will pay more interest, a credit card can help if you’re left in a desperate situation where you need cash instantly and though you may go over your credit line and have to pay exorbitant amounts, as long as you make minimum payments it is unlikely that you will be unable to complete the purchase.
Choosing a debit card
There are two main types of debit card available: those that are electronic — used for making transactions online, and those that can process transactions offline. The Visa Electron Scheme is the most popular online card in the UK. Offline debit cards in the UK are issued under the Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit Schemes. With these cards you do not need to go online before every transaction, leaving open the possibility of going overdrawn. It is therefore important to monitor your own spending.