Credit and Debit Cards Pros and Cons

DEBIT CARD A debit card (also known as a bank card or check card) is a plastic card that provides the cardholder electronic access to his or her bank account(s) at a financial institution. Some cards have a stored value with which a payment is made, while most relay a message to the cardholder’s bank to withdraw funds from a payee’s designated bank account. The card, where accepted, can be used instead ofcash when making purchases. In some cases, the primary account number is assigned exclusively for use on the Internet and there is no physical card.

In many countries, the use of debit cards has become so widespread that their volume has overtaken or entirely replaced cheques and, in some instances, cash transactions. The development of debit cards, unlike credit cards and charge cards, has generally been country specific resulting in a number of different systems around the world, which were often incompatible. Since the mid 2000s, a number of initiatives have allowed debit cards issued in one country to be used in other countries and allowed their use for internet and phone purchases.

Unlike credit and charge cards, payments using a debit card are immediately transferred from the cardholder’s designated bank account, instead of them paying the money back at a later date. Debit cards usually also allow for instant withdrawal of cash, acting as the ATM card for withdrawing cash. Merchants may also offer cashback facilities to customers, where a customer can withdraw cash along with their purchase. ORIGIN The First National Bank of Seattle issued the first debit card to business executives with large savings accounts in 1978.

These cards acted like a check signature or a guarantee card, where the bank promised the funds would cover the transaction without the customer needing a check to complete the transaction. The bank only issued debit cards to those customers who had a long history with the bank and were in good standing, because like a check, the funds were not immediately removed from the account. In 1984, Landmark implemented the first nationwide debiting system, built on the credit card infrastructure and ATM networks already in place.

By 1998, debit cards outnumbered check usage around the world. Its preference over checks continues to grow every year. HISTORY The history of debit cards is an interesting one. Debit cards helped to change the way that people used money and bank accounts. Debit cards are used to pay for purchases at stores and other locations around the world. A debit card works by debiting the money from your checking account. For many people debit cards have taken the place of cash and checks. However, debit cards are still a relatively new banking tool.

Credit cards paved the way for debit cards. Many people used credit cards to pay for transactions. This also put in place the infrastructure that debit cards needed to be practical as a method of payment. Seattle’s First National Bank offered the first debit card to business executives in 1978. Initially they were like a check signature or guarantee card, with which the bank would guarantee that the fund would be paid, but you did not need a check to do the transaction. They also required a large savings account be kept at the bank to cover the funds.

These cards were only issued to people who had a long and good standing with the bank, because the funds were not directly debited from the account. These types of cards generally come with the Visa or MasterCard symbol on them. In 1984 Landmark created the first nationwide debit system, using ATMs and other networks that allowed debit cards to be used nationwide. This allowed the smaller banking systems within states to connect with banks systems outside of states. As technology improved the debit cards moved to a system that was able to directly debit the money from a checking account.

When this happened the debit cards became available to more and more consumers. These types of debit cards may have the Plus symbol or other similar symbols on them. However many banks will also use the Visa or MasterCard symbol for a direct debit card because they are accepted at so many different places around the country. In 1998 debit card transactions first outnumbered the use of checks around the world. This number has continued to grow over time. Debit cards are now commonly used for most transactions at stores in the United States. Debit cards are more convenient to use than a check.

Debit cards speed up transactions at stores. Additionally debit cards are safer than carrying cash, because banks can stop fraudulent purchases and consumers are not held liable for purchases made when the card is stolen. Debit cards have made banking a much easier process for many people. In the future transactions will continue to move away from cash and check. Debit cards may be left behind as well as banks move to using one card that you can quickly scan at a variety of locations. This will speed up transactions as well as virtually eliminate the need for cash in the future.

Over time the history of debit cards may be one step to moving to a completely cashless system. FUNCTION Although debit cards look like credit cards, they do not function like credit cards. Debit cards connect to the available balance contained in the holder’s checking account. If the funds are not available, the debit card cannot complete the transaction. Unlike a check, the money does not float until the bank completes the funds transfer. Rather, the funds transfer from the customer’s account to the seller’s account in real time, providing the seller with a guaranteed exchange for their goods for money.

Debit cards with the logo of a major company imprinted on them, such as Visa or MasterCard, can function like a credit card where the transaction does “float” for two to three business days after the transaction, until the bank can transfer the funds TYPES Debit cards began as a convenient method to exchange money for goods or services in the late 1970s and early 1980s, over check to complete. There are several types of debit card available. One type of debit card is a tangible card that resembles a credit card. Historicallly, banks and credit unions only have issued these cards.

Retailers now issue prepaid debit cards in specific amounts, similar to gift cards, imprinted with Visa or MasterCard. These debit cards, unlike gift cards, can be used anywhere. There are also intangible debit cards that transfer money from your bank account to a seller’s bank account, like an ATM card. Advantages of debit cards * A consumer who is not credit worthy and may find it difficult or impossible to obtain a credit card can more easily obtain a debit card, allowing him/her to make plastic transactions.

For example, legislation often prevents minors from taking out debt, which includes the use of a credit card, but not online debit card transactions. Research has shown that consumers with lower credit scores use debit cards more intensively than those with higher credit scores. * For most transactions, a check card can be used to avoid check writing altogether. Check cards debit funds from the user’s account on the spot, thereby finalizing the transaction at the time of purchase, and bypassing the requirement to pay a credit card bill at a later date, or to write an insecure check, containing the account holder’s personal information. Like credit cards, debit cards are accepted by merchants with less identification and scrutiny than personal checks, thereby making transactions quicker and less intrusive. Unlike personal checks, merchants generally do not believe that a payment via a debit card may be later dishonored. * Unlike a credit card, which charges higher fees and interest rates when a cash advance is obtained, a debit card may be used to obtain cash from an ATM or a PIN-based transaction at no extra charge, other than a foreign ATM fee.

Disadvantages of debit cards * Use of a debit card is not usually limited to the existing funds in the account to which it is linked, most banks allow a certain threshold over the available bank balance which can cause overdraft fees if the user’s transaction does not reflect available balance. This disadvantage has lessened in the United States with the requirement that an issuer obtain opt-in permission in advance to allow an overdraft on a debit card. Lacking this opt-in, overdrafts are not permitted for electronic transactions. Many banks are now charging over-limit fees or non-sufficient funds fees based upon pre-authorizations, and even attempted but refused transactions by the merchant (some of which may be unknown until later discovery by account holder).

* Many merchants mistakenly believe that amounts owed can be “taken” from a customer’s account after a debit card (or number) has been presented, without agreement as to date, payee name, amount and currency, thus causing penalty fees for overdrafts, over-the-limit, amounts not available causing further rejections or overdrafts, and rejected transactions by some banks. In some countries debit cards offer lower levels of security protection than credit cards. Theft of a user’s PIN using skimming devices can be accomplished much easier with a PIN input than with a signature-based credit transaction.

However, theft of users’ PIN codes using skimming devices can be equally easily accomplished with a debit transaction PIN input, as with a credit transaction PIN input, and theft using a signature-based credit transaction is equally easy as theft using a signature-based debit transaction. In many places, laws protect the consumer from fraud much less than with a credit card. While the holder of a credit card is legally responsible for only a minimal amount of a fraudulent transaction made with a credit card, which is often waived by the bank, the consumer may be held liable for hundreds of dollars, or even the entire value of fraudulent debit transactions.

Because debit cards allow funds to be immediately transferred from an account when making a purchase, the consumer also has a shorter time (usually just two days) to report such fraud to the bank in order to be eligible for such a waiver with a debit card and recover the lost funds, whereas with a credit card, this time may be up to 60 days, and the transactions are removed without losing any credit. A thief who obtains or clones a debit card along with its PIN may be able to clean out the consumer’s bank account, and the consumer will have no recourse. CREDIT CARDS

A credit card is a payment card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows the cardholder to pay for goods and services based on the holder’s promise to pay for them. The issuer of the card creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the consumer (or the user) from which the user can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance to the user. A credit card is different from a charge card: a charge card requires the balance to be paid in full each month. In contrast, credit cards allow the consumers a continuing balance of debt, subject to interest being charged.

A credit card also differs from a cash card, which can be used like currency by the owner of the card. A credit card differs from a charge card also in that a credit card typically involves a third-party entity that pays the seller and is reimbursed by the buyer, whereas a charge card simply defers payment by the buyer until a later date. HISTORY The concept of using a card for purchases was described in 1887 by Edward Bellamy in his utopian novel Looking Backward. Bellamy used the term credit card eleven times in this novel, although this referred to a card for spending a citizen’s dividend rather than borrowing.

The modern credit card was the successor of a variety of merchant credit schemes. It was first used in the 1920s, in the United States, specifically to sell fuel to a growing number ofautomobile owners. In 1938 several companies started to accept each other’s cards. Western Union had begun issuing charge cards to its frequent customers in 1921. Some charge cards were printed on paper card stock, but were easily counterfeited. The Charga-Plate, developed in 1928, was an early predecessor to the credit card and used in the U. S. from the 1930s to the late 1950s.

It was a 2½ in × 1¼ in rectangle of sheet metal related to Addressograph and military dog tag systems. It was embossed with the customer’s name, city and state. It held a small paper card for a signature. In recording a purchase, the plate was laid into a recess in the imprinter, with a paper “charge slip” positioned on top of it. The record of the transaction included an impression of the embossed information, made by the imprinter pressing an inked ribbon against the charge slip. Charga-Plate was a trademark of Farrington Manufacturing Co.

Charga-Plates were issued by large-scale merchants to their regular customers, much like department store credit cards of today. In some cases, the plates were kept in the issuing store rather than held by customers. When an authorized user made a purchase, a clerk retrieved the plate from the store’s files and then processed the purchase. Charga-Plates speeded back-office bookkeeping that was done manually in paper ledgers in each store, before computers. In 1934, American Airlines and the Air Transport Association simplified the process even more with the advent of the Air Travel Card.

They created a numbering scheme that identified the issuer of card as well as the customer account. This is the reason the modern UATP cards still start with the number 1. With an Air Travel Card, passengers could “buy now, and pay later” for a ticket against their credit and receive a fifteen percent discount at any of the accepting airlines. By the 1940s, all of the major domestic airlines offered Air Travel Cards that could be used on 17 different airlines. By 1941 about half of the airlines’ revenues came through the Air Travel Card agreement.

The airlines had also started offering installment plans to lure new travelers into the air. In October 1948, the Air Travel Card became the first inter-nationally valid charge card within all members of the International Air Transport Association. The concept of customers paying different merchants using the same card was expanded in 1950 by Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara, founders of Diners Club, to consolidate multiple cards. The Diners Club, which was created partially through a merger with Dine and Sign, produced the first “general purpose” charge card, and required the entire bill to be paid with each statement.

That was followed by Carte Blanche and in 1958 by American Express which created a worldwide credit card network (although these were initially charge cards that acquired credit card features after BankAmericard demonstrated the feasibility of the concept). However, until 1958, no one had been able to create a working revolving credit financial instrument issued by a third-party bank that was generally accepted by a large number of merchants (as opposed to merchant-issued revolving cards accepted by only a few merchants). A dozen experiments by small American banks had been attempted (and had failed).

In September 1958, Bank of America launched the BankAmericard in Fresno, California. BankAmericard became the first successful recognizably modern credit card (although it underwent a troubled gestation during which its creator resigned), and with its overseas affiliates, eventually evolved into the Visa system. In 1966, the ancestor of MasterCard was born when a group of banks established Master Charge to compete with BankAmericard; it received a significant boost when Citibank merged its proprietary Everything Card (launched in 1967) into Master Charge in 1969. Early credit cards in the U.

S. , of which BankAmericard was the most prominent example, were mass produced and mass mailed unsolicited to bank customers who were thought to be good credit risks. But, “They have been mailed off to unemployables, drunks, narcotics addicts and to compulsive debtors, a process President Johnson’s Special Assistant Betty Furness found very like ‘giving sugar to diabetics’. “[8] These mass mailings were known as “drops” in banking terminology, and were outlawed in 1970 due to the financial chaos they caused, but not before 100 million credit cards had been dropped into the U.

S. population. After 1970, only credit card applications could be sent unsolicited in mass mailings. The fractured nature of the U. S. banking system under the Glass–Steagall Act meant that credit cards became an effective way for those who were traveling around the country to move their credit to places where they could not directly use their banking facilities. In 1966 Barclaycard in the UK launched the first credit card outside of the U. S.

There are now countless variations on the basic concept of revolving credit for individuals (as issued by banks and honored by a network of financial institutions), including organization-branded credit cards, corporate-user credit cards, store cards and so on. Although credit cards reached very high adoption levels in the US, Canada and the UK in the mid twentieth century, many cultures were more cash-oriented, or developed alternative forms of cash-less payments, such as Carte bleue or the Eurocard (Germany, France, Switzerland, and others).

In these places, adoption of credit cards was initially much slower. It took until the 1990s to reach anything like the percentage market-penetration levels achieved in the US, Canada, or UK. In some countries, acceptance still remains poor as the use of a credit card system depends on the banking system being perceived as reliable. Japan remains a very cash oriented society, with credit card adoption being limited to only the largest of merchants, although an alternative system based on RFIDs inside cellphones has seen some acceptance.

Because of strict regulations regarding banking system overdrafts, some countries, France in particular, were much faster to develop and adopt chip-based credit cards which are now seen as major anti-fraud credit devices. Debit cards and online banking are used more widely than credit cards in some countries. The design of the credit card itself has become a major selling point in recent years. The value of the card to the issuer is often related to the customer’s usage of the card, or to the customer’s financial worth.

This has led to the rise of Co-Brand and Affinity cards, where the card design is related to the “affinity” (a university or professional society, for example) leading to higher card usage. In most cases a percentage of the value of the card is returned to the affinity group. Advantages of credit cards * Purchase Power and Ease of Purchase – Credit cards can make it easier to buy things. If we don’t like to carry large amounts of cash with us or if a company doesn’t accept cash purchases (for example most airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies), putting purchases on a credit card can make buying things easier. Protection of Purchases – Credit cards may also offer you additional protection if something we have bought is lost, damaged, or stolen.

Both our credit card statement (and the credit card company) can vouch for the fact that we have made a purchase if the original receipt is lost or stolen. In addition, some credit card companies offer insurance on large purchases. * Building a Credit Line – Having a good credit history is often important, not only when applying for credit cards, but also when applying for things such as loans, rental applications, or even some jobs.

Having a credit card and using it wisely (making payments on time and in full each month) will help us build a good credit history. * Emergencies – Credit cards can also be useful in times of emergency. While we should avoid spending outside our budget (or money we don’t have! ), sometimes emergencies (such as our car breaking down or flood or fire) may lead to a large purchase (like the need for a rental car or a motel room for several nights. * Credit Card Benefits – In addition to the benefits listed above, some credit cards offer additional benefits, such as discounts from particular stores or companies, bonuses such as free airline miles or travel discounts, and special insurances (like travel or life insurance. ) While most of these benefits are meant to encourage us to charge more money on our credit card (remember, credit card companies start making their money when we can’t afford to pay off our charges! ) the benefits are real and can be helpful as long as we remember your spending limits.

Disadvantages of credit cards * Blowing Your Budget — The biggest disadvantage of credit cards is that they encourage people to spend money that they don’t have. Most credit cards do not require us to pay off our balance each month, so even if we only have $100, we may be able to spend up to $500 or $1,000 on our credit card. While this may seem like ‘free money’ at the time, we will have to pay it off — and the longer we wait, the more money we will owe since credit card companies charge us interest each month on the money we have borrowed.

High Interest Rates and Increased Debt — Credit card companies charge us an enormous amount of interest on each balance that we don’t pay off at the end of each month. This is how they make their money and this is how most people in the United States get into debt (and even bankruptcy. ) Consider this: If we have a $100 in savings, most banks will give us at the most 2. 0 to 2. 5% interest on our money over the course of the year. This means we earn $2. 00 – $2. 50 a year on our $100 savings. Most credit cards charge us up to 10 times that amount of interest on balances.

This means that if we have $100 balance that we don’t pay off, we will be charged 20-25% interest on that $100. This means that we owe almost $30 interest (plus the original $100) at the end of the year. A good way to look at this is in comparison to what we would earn in interest from a bank or owe in interest to a bank loan: Savings accounts may pay us around 2% interest; if we have a loan from a bank we may pay them around 10% interest (5 times as much as our earn off our savings); if we owe money to a credit card company, we may pay them around 20% interest (10 times as much as you earn off our savings.

* Credit Card Fraud – Like cash, sometimes credit cards can be stolen. They may be physically stolen (if we lose our wallet) or someone may steal your credit card number (from a receipt, over the phone, or from a Web site) and use our card to rack up debts. The good news is that, unlike cash, if we realize our credit card or number has been stolen and we report it to our credit card company immediately, we will not be charged for any purchases that someone else has made.

Even if we don’t realize our credit card number has been stolen (sometimes we might not know until we receive our monthly statement), most credit card companies don’t charge us or only charge a small fee, like $25 or $50, even if the thief has charged thousands of dollars to our card. There are several things we can do to prevent credit card fraud: * If we lose our card or wallet, report it to ur credit card company immediately. * Don’t loan our credit card to anyone and only give out our credit card information to trusted companies or Web sites. * Check our statement closely at the end of each month to make sure all charges are ours. we can find out more about protecting our personal information by visiting our Personal Safety course.

Credit cards can make life easier and be a great tool, but if they aren’t used wisely they can become a huge financial burden. If we decide to use credit cards, remember these simple rules: * Keep track of all our purchases. * Don’t spend outside our budget. * Pay off our balance on all of our credit cards at the end of each month. * Don’t loan our credit or give out our credit card information to anyone but reliable companies. TYPES OF CREDIT CARDS Credit cards have come to the rescue of people with hot pockets.

They, nowadays, put their trust in the innovation of credit cards where they need not carry large sums of money with them; instead simply carry a credit card which is linked up with their bank account enabling them to make payments without batting an eye. It is a trend, now, to make payments at a hotel, restaurant or a departmental store/ mall using a credit card. Because of the fear of one’s bank account details being swiped and stolen, more and more credit cards are made secure so that even if a credit card is stolen, the money in one’s bank account stays safe.

Credit cards now are of various types with different fees, interest rates and rewarding programs. When applying for a credit card, it is important to learn of their diverse types to know the one best suited to their lifestyle and financial status. Different types of credit cards available by banks and other companies/organizations are briefly described below. Standard Credit Card: This is the most commonly used. One is allowed to use money up to a certain limit. The account holder has to top up the amount once the level of the balance goes down. An outstanding balance gets a penalty charge.

Premium Credit Card: This has a much higher bank account and fees. Incentives are offered in this over and above that in a standard card. Credit card holders are offered travel incentives, reward points, cask back and other rewards on the use of this card. This is also called the Reward Credit Card. Some examples are: airlines frequent flier credit card, cash back credit card, automobile manufacturers’ rewards credit card. Platinum and Gold, MasterCard and Visa card fall into this category. Secured Credit Card: People without credit history or with tarnished credit can avail this card.

A security deposit is required amounting to the same as the credit limit. Revolving balance is required according to the ‘buying and selling’ done. Limited Purpose Credit Card: There is limitation to its use and is to be used only for particular applications. This is used for establishing small credits such as gas credits and credit at departmental stores. Minimal charges are levied. Charge Credit Card: This requires the card holder to make full payment of the balance every month and therefore there is no limit to credit.

Because of the spending flexibility, the card holder is expected to have a higher income level and high credit score. Penalty is incurred if full payment of the balance is not done in time. Specialty Credit Card: is used for business purposes enabling businessmen to keep their businesses transactions separately in a convenient way. Charge cards and standard cards are available for this. Also, students enrolled in an accredited 4-year college/university course can avail this benefit. Prepaid Credit Card: Here, money is loaded by the card holder on to the card. It is like a debit card except that it is not tied up with a bank account.

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