When I go grocery shopping, I almost always purchase enough to warrant using a card rather than cash. I used to use my debit card for these transactions, but twice in the past (each incident about half a year apart) shortly after doing so I have had my credit union report that the account connected to my debit card had fraudulent charges, and I had to get the card replaced.

Since then I have been using my credit card for store purchases, because it is my understanding that credit cards come with built-in fraudulent charge insurance. But I am wondering if this is actually more secure than using my debit card, and if there are any other concerns I should have with using my credit card for this regular (sometimes bi-weekly) purchase. But on the other hand, my credit card does offer cash rewards, so using it frequently may be a better tradeoff.

It is better to use a credit or debit card when making my regular grocery purchases, or does it make no difference?

  • 3
    tell the grocery store...
    – ssaltman
    May 28 '15 at 20:12
  • 2
    @ssaltman I did. They reacted with indifference. I reacted by never going to that grocery store again.
    – Zibbobz
    May 28 '15 at 20:18
  • Are either/both of the cards chip and PIN?
    – Compro01
    May 29 '15 at 2:30
  • @Zibbobz when you "told the grocery store", did you talk to someone minimum wage, no benefits and no future in the company or did you talk to management? May 29 '15 at 6:02
  • @AdamJensen Local manager, who didn't seem to understand how it could be their fault.
    – Zibbobz
    May 29 '15 at 12:09

For safety, I would always go with a credit card. The fraud protection is generally better, although that gap is closing and many debit cards include similar fraud protection now as well.

The key though is that in the event of a dispute, your money is at stake when you use a debit card (those funds might be unavailable for you to use), while on a credit card, it's the issuing bank's funds, and that's the bigger advantage I think.

Also many credit cards offer cash back/points on grocery store purchases so that's a possible advantage but not really relevant to the fraud/safety concern.

  • 2
    +1 I also like the rewards points, but my primary reason for making all purchases on a credit card (rather than debit) is to minimize the hassle of fraud. May 28 '15 at 20:46
  • 6
    @jamesqf On the contrary: it's called "pickpocketing".
    – neminem
    May 28 '15 at 23:07
  • 1
    American Express Blue Cash has a whopping 5% cash back on grocery store purchases once you've exceeded $6500 worth of purchases per year. May 29 '15 at 4:31
  • 1
    Credit cards also build credit history. Another advantage, particularly when starting off as a young adult.
    – Brandon
    May 30 '15 at 14:25
  • 1
    @jamesqf That's because they don't have to cover the security cost of losing the transaction illegally made with a card - YOU do have to cover the cost if your cash is stolen. And in every case where someone managed to get my card data, I got my money back.
    – Zibbobz
    Jun 1 '15 at 17:54

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