Using a debit or credit card has now become the standard for buying everything from airline tickets, a tank of gas, to a cup of coffee. These cards are convenient, safe, and easy to use. It’s very important to understand how these cards work and to use them responsibly. Misuse can lead to overdrafts and unnecessary fees.
There is one big difference between these cards: debit cards deduct money immediately from your account and credit cards allow you to spend money you might not have with the promise you will pay it back later.
There are different types of cards available:
A debit card looks like a credit card but acts like an electronic check or cash. This card allows you to use an ATM or money machine to withdraw funds directly from your bank account.
A credit card lets you buy things now and pay the money later to the card-issuing bank usually within a month. If you don’t, you will pay extra interest and late fees.
A prepaid card lets you “load” your own card with cash, like a gift card and spend it like a credit card, but with your own money.
A secured card can help you build up good credit by using your money in a deposit account as “security.”
An EBT card (electronic benefits transfer card) allows the government to provide you benefits without paper checks.