Proponents of both sides have good reasons for embracing one method and rejecting the other.
With the holiday shopping season approaching, you’ll need to decide not only what to buy but also how to pay for it.
In the credit versus debit card debate, proponents of both sides have good reasons for embracing one method and rejecting the other.
The greatest advantage a credit card offers is security.
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, if someone uses your card number fraudulently, federal law limits your liability to $50. And many credit card companies extend their protection beyond that. American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa assume all liability for unauthorized purchases.
The law’s protections are especially important if you’re shopping online. If you use your credit card to make a purchase and have a billing problem with a merchant — including a dispute over unsatisfactory merchandise — the credit card issuer must investigate and resolve your complaint, and you can withhold payment until then.
In addition, credit cards may offer other protections, such as extended warranties and purchase protection, said Ted Rossman, analyst for Bankrate.com.
Credit cards also have generous rewards programs. Depending on the card, you can earn as much as 5% cash back (or, typically, five points per dollar) for spending on groceries, gas, restaurant meals and travel. Some cards earn up to 3% cash back on every purchase you make.