"It's important that consumers understand the difference between a debit card and a credit card," says John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud for the National Consumers League."There's a difference in how the transactions are processed and the protections offered to consumers when they use them." With debit cards and credit cards, each payment method has advantages and each is also better suited to certain situations.Booking on credit allows you to pay off the balance over time, if necessary, for an expensive trip.Another factor that bothers Foley: Hotels aren't immune to hackers and data breaches, and several name-brand establishments have suffered the problem recently."With a debit card, you have fewer protections," she says.In addition, some credit card benefits include extended warrantees. Otherwise, you also risk paying some high-ticket interest.Buying now but taking delivery days or weeks from now?A credit card offers dispute rights that a debit card typically does not.
"You’re not eliminating the risk, but you’re using a payment method that makes it a lot easier to take corrective action against unauthorized charges," Bridges says.For the same reason, Linda Foley, who founded the Identity Theft Resource Center in 1999, suggests not using your debit card for phone orders.The Federal Reserve's Regulation E (commonly dubbed Reg E), covers debit card transfers.Another reason not to use the debit card for recurring charges? Forget to budget for that automatic bill payment one month, and you could either face fees or embarrassment (depending on whether you've opted to allow overdrafts or not).So if you don't keep a cash buffer in your account, "to protect yourself from over-limit fees, you may want to think about using a credit card" for recurring payments, Breyault says.