Cash, debit, or credit. How should you pay?
September 8, 2020
Can’t decide between using cash, credit, or debit when making everyday purchases? Although it may seem like a simple choice, each comes with specific rewards and perks that could benefit you in the long run. Here is a breakdown of each method of payment to determine which is best for you.
As society becomes more environmentally friendly and heavily reliant on all things digital, the use of paper money is becoming less common. In fact, many retailers and restaurants within urban-centers are starting to adopt a cashless point-of-sale, requiring customers to pay with either credit or debit, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Although many might be shifting away from using cash, it's still an effective way to limit overspending and debt, which can easily accrue when payments are placed on a credit or debit card. When you opt to use cash over card, you’re seeing the money decrease from your wallet in real-time and are often forced to make purchases within a specific spending cap. Since cash is tangible, you're more conscious about the money that's being spent and more mindful about evaluating your purchases as needs vs. wants.
When used responsibly, credit cards can be a great way to grow your credit history and gain loads of perks and rewards that aren’t available with cash or debit payments. The type of rewards varies depending on what card you hold, but benefits can range from travel insurance, cash back, purchase protection, mobile device insurance, and more. In terms of security, most credit cards offer some form of fraud protection to limit identity theft with zero liability. Credit cards also make traveling a lot easier, since most are compatible internationally and can ease the stress of carrying cash.
Although it might be tempting to use your credit card the same way you would a debit card or even cash, it's important to note that the margin for error in terms of spending outside your means with credit is quite high. Credit card misuse can have a huge impact on your financial future. To avoid hurting your credit score or accruing debt, you should make a habit of paying your monthly bill in full and on time to avoid high interest, late payment fees, and spiralling debt.
If you hate the idea of carrying cash and loose change but like the financial security of only spending money that you currently have, debit cards are the perfect choice. As debit card technology continues to evolve, transactions can be made using a chip reader, tap, or mobile phone, making transactions easy. Unlike credit cards, debit card users won't gain many rewards or have access to cash-back incentives that are normally available for credit card purchases. Although this might seem like a major con, it's still a great way to avoid high-interest charges or debt, especially in these uncertain times.
Similar to cash payments, debit cards can help you limit overspending and avoid unwanted debt. Paying with a debit card gives you the "real money" feel that you would have with cash purchases, but with the added bonuses of flexibility and convenience.
When it comes to selecting your go-to payment method, it's important to understand the pros and cons of each option. If saving money and sticking to a budget is important to you, using cash or debit can help you reach those goals. If you'd rather collect rewards like travel miles and cash-back incentives, using a credit card is a great tool to gain more with your purchases while growing your credit history.