I recently moved from France to Canada, and am a bit lost regarding the way credit cards work in North America. Let me explain my understing to give some context to my question:
In France, one has basically a single bank account (in most cases), from which you can emit checks, do wires and that is attached to an optional credit card. Whenever you pay something with your credit card, the amount of money is just deduced directly from your bank account. If you have no money on the account, the payment is refused. This is for the common case (some banks allow for a negative amount on your account for instance). Checks are free. You can also opt-in to have all your payments automatically delayed until the end of the month which costs a static fee every year.
Now, as I understand, things behave a little different in Canada: I have a check account, with an attached Debit Card and another, different account with a (VISA) Credit Card. Using the former to buy something would directly decrease the balance of my check account or would be refused in case I'm lacking the money. Using the latter would just decrease the balance of my VISA account and I would have to make a wire in a period of 21 days to avoid paying interests.
People also told me that I would have to use my credit card more often than my debit card if I want to build a credit history (which is apparently a big deal here, but doesn't really exist in France, or I just never heard of it before).
Is my understanding okay ? If so, it seems to me that this system is rather error prone. By that I mean I could easily forget to make a wire some day and be charged interests while I actually have more than enough money on the check account to pay the debt.
Another thing that bothers me is that the credit card apparently has a rather low credit limit. If I wanted to buy something that costs $2500 but only have a credit limit of $1500, can I make a preemptive wire from my check account to the VISA account to avoid facing the limit ? If so, what is the point for the customer of having two accounts (and two cards for that matter...) ?
Sorry if those questions seem dumb to some of you, but when it comes to money, I'd rather look dumb asking silly questions but make sure I get everything right.