As far as I've read, a credit card is generally better than a debit card. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

My question is should I also have a debit card? The downside is the added risk of the debit card getting lost or stolen.

  • 7
    Some places (e.g. Costco in the UK) will take debit cards but not credit cards, due to the lower processing costs that they pay.
    – Mike Scott
    Jan 3 '18 at 16:31
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    Also WinCo (grocery chain in western US) only takes debit, also I think most Arco gas stations... But all of them take cash :)
    – jamesqf
    Jan 3 '18 at 18:04
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    Well it's always a good idea to have more than one card anyway. If you lose your only card you're SOL but if you have a debit card at least you have that. Jan 3 '18 at 20:11
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    @Alexan: Not necessarily. For at least some accounts, the debit card is a separate feature that must be requested. (In the US: other countries' practices may differ, of course.)
    – jamesqf
    Jan 3 '18 at 20:37
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    @Azor-Ahai Even if you don't lose the card, you may find that for some reason one of them isn't working but the other is. I've had a few situations like that when I was glad to have the debit card, even though I normally don't use it due to the superior protection provided by credit cards. Jan 3 '18 at 21:20

1) Some vendors, specifically utilities and rent payments, often will not accept credits cards for payments. While these can generally be managed through bank drafts instead, hiccups in payment systems happen, requiring alternative payment methods. This is where the debit card comes in handy.

2) Unless you are paying off your credit card every month, you are paying high fees on it. If debt is an issue, possessing a credit card can lead to greater debt issues over time.

3) Nearly every credit card I know of charges high fees for cash advances. Mine is 17% if I remember correctly (I never use it). Without a debit card, you either pay expensive advance fees, or have to go to the bank. Debit cards allow withdrawals without exorbitant fees (couple of dollars for out if network transactions usually). And for many banks, they have an "in network" atm system without fees.


Two issues I see with your question:

  1. The word "need" is absolute.
  2. It confuses the purpose of debit and credit cards.


  1. No, you don't need a debit card. But it's a handy way to access your checking account (though obsoleted by smartphone bank apps), and get dead presidents without cashing a check.
  2. Debit cards are instant access to your checking (and maybe savings) account, whereas credit cards are loans. One good reason to have a DC instead of a CC is if you don't trust yourself to be disciplined with a CC, whereas you can (theoretically) only spend what you have using a DC.
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    Thank you for your answer. My takeaway is that if one limits their spending, a DC boils down to cash withdrawal.
    – ispiro
    Jan 3 '18 at 16:52
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    @jamesqf do literal ATM cards (say "ATM" on them, and work nowhere but ATMs) still exist?
    – RonJohn
    Jan 3 '18 at 19:01
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    @jamesqf, if it has a VISA logo on it, it can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, right? I didn't think a bank could selectively disable that. If you try to use it right now, is it just declined?
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 3 '18 at 21:41
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    @Ukko, Right, I know that, but he's acting like his card is only an ATM card that can't be used for debit transactions at a store that takes Visa.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 3 '18 at 21:52
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    @Andy he's asking why he'd need a DC, and "checking account balances and recent transaction" is a function of debit cards.
    – RonJohn
    Jan 4 '18 at 2:40

I've never seen a place that takes debit but not credit cards. Additionally, your bank may provide an ATM-only card that cannot be used as a debit card, but you have to ask explicitly for such an card without the debit feature.


You are wrong in your comparing of credit vs. debit card as 'better' and 'worse'. Those are 2 separate products, which looks similar, but are quite distinct.

While credit cards usually provide better facilities against fraud transactions, and additional insurances, it's not always the case, and debit cards can be used to pay in internet as well.

The biggest disadvantage of credit cards against debit cards are cash withdraw fees. Cash withdrawal usually results in credit being interested from the day of withdrawal, so you'll have always to pay interests. It's a consequence of credit card being an instrument designed for cashless payments, not cash withdrawal.

So which products makes sense for you depends on your use case. Most people profit from having both. Some people need none of them. If you generally pay with cash, you need debit card for ATM withdrawal. If you mostly buy in internet, a credit card might make more sense.

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