What’s the difference between a credit card and debit card? Will you benefit more from using the former or latter? We answer all your burning questions.
Is it better to use debit or credit cards for your daily expenses? From the way they function to their advantages and disadvantages, debit cards and credit cards couldn’t be more different — despite how similar they may look.
Below, we’ve gathered the top five signs to help you gauge your readiness to upgrade your trusty debit card to a credit card that you can count on for most if not all of your needs.
#1 You are responsible with your money
Do you always make it a point to keep an eye on your money and you know where exactly your money goes? If you’ve always been responsible with your money, you are likely to benefit from using a credit card.
Although credit cards have high-interest rates and some even require you to fork out an annual fee, using your credit card responsibly can help you earn tangible rewards over time as you spend on day to day purchases (e.g. groceries, petrol, dining), online shopping, travel bookings etc. Make each dollar of yours go further already!
One of the most important credit card habits you can benefit from adopting is paying off your credit card bill in full every month before its due date. This way, you’ll never have to deal with nasty credit card interest charges and late fees.
#2 You don’t like the idea of overspending
Live by the mantra ‘spend within your means’ no matter how much or little disposable income you have? You are likely to do well managing a credit card if you don’t even fancy the idea of spending money just because you have easy access to credit.
When you use a credit card to pay for a purchase, the credit card issuer (typically a bank) will be the one footing the bill first. Don’t be mistaken — this is money that you have to pay back sooner or later. It isn’t free money in any way.
Having credit cards doesn’t mean you have to be in debt or be terrible with your money. Find out how our colleague manages 16 credit cards like a pro.
#3 You want to build up your credit score
Foresee the need to take on home loans and car loans in the future perhaps? Upgrading from debit cards to credit cards is one of the easiest ways you can build up, or improve, your credit score.
Building good credit means demonstrating to lenders that you can responsibly repay the money that you borrow.
All you have to do is make sure you consistently pay off your credit card bills in full punctually over an extended period.
Banks and financial institutions reference your credit report when deciding whether or not to extend credit to you. How clean and impressive your credit report will also affect the amount of credit they are willing to extend to you.
#4 You want to earn tangible credit card rewards
Fancy the idea of turning your expenses into cash rebates, gifts, vouchers or even actual air miles meant for flight redemptions and flight upgrades? The right rewards credit card(s) can help you.
In general, consumers can pick from cashback credit cards, air miles credit cards and rewards credit cards. How do you decide which ones to go for? Well, you need to consider your lifestyle and spending habits!
Apart from earning and accumulating credit card rewards, credit cards come with a slew of discounts and offers meant to help you stretch your money. Check out these DBS/POSB offers, Citibank offers, Standard Chartered Bank offers and OCBC offers for a start.
If you’re planning on signing up for a credit card, check out SingSaver’s latest credit card sign up promotions to clinch cashback deals and freebies while you’re at it.
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#5 You want to enjoy credit cards’ fringe benefits
Did you know credit cards offer a host of fringe benefits such as fraud protection, e-commerce purchase protection, complimentary travel insurance, concierge services, complimentary airport lounge access worldwide etc?
Bear in mind that credit cards and their associated benefits aren’t created equal — the actual fringe benefits that you can enjoy are dependent on the specific credit cards you hold.
Credit cards vs debit cards: What’s the difference?
Credit cards let you spend money that you may not have whereas debit cards limit your spending to whatever sum you have in your bank account. There’s no way you can spend money you don’t have with debit cards.
When you charge a purchase to your credit card, you’re taking a short-term loan from the credit card issuer. All’s good if you pay off your credit card bill in full before its due date. Otherwise, late fees and interest charges will kick in.
The amount you can spend on your credit card is usually capped at around four times your monthly salary. For ultra high-income earners, there’s usually no credit limit they have to worry about.
Is it better to use credit or debit cards?
The short answer is: It depends. Credit cards and debit cards may look alike, but their benefits and drawbacks are very different.
If you’re looking to cash in rewards and build up your credit score, credit cards are essential financial tools that will most definitely help you attain your goals so long as you use them responsibly.
If you find it difficult to stay on top of your credit card bill payments or if prefer to keep a more watchful eye on your money, debit cards could be a better bet.
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