Shopping Online? There’s a difference between credit and debit.


Debit cards and credit cards may look and swipe the same, but they work completely differently. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which is important to consider when you’re using one to shop online.


Because you can’t ever spend more money than you have, the advantage of using a debit card is that you don’t incur debt. Therefore, there’s never any interest charges or late fees to worry about. In fact, you never have to make any payments at all, but you will have to regularly add funds to your checking account if you’re using this card for your daily purchases.


Debit cards have a distinct disadvantage when it comes to online shopping security, since debit card fraud protections aren’t as strict as those for credit card fraud. If your debit card is lost or stolen, or if your payment information is compromised online in any way, a fraudulent payment will immediately be deducted from your account.


A credit card represents a potential loan from the card issuer to the customer. Every time you make a charge to your credit card, either online or in person, you’re taking out a loan. And unless you pay your statement balance in full, you’ll have to pay interest charges on the amount that you borrow.


Credit cards are protected by strong federal laws, which prohibit card issuers from charging you for fraudulent transactions. These laws give you, the cardholder, the right to dispute the charges for products and services you didn’t receive, and even charges for things you bought that were not as described.


So, protect yourself by using your credit card for online purchases, and then paying off the card balance with your debit card or checking account.

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