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Debit cards: The advantages and disadvantages when buying goods

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

A debit card is a plastic bankcard which enables you to take money out of your account via a cash machine or ATM or to pay for something in a shop. When you pay for something using your debit card (instead of cash), the money comes immediately out of your bank account. You should ensure you always have enough money in your bank account so that the payment goes through smoothly and you do not incur fines for going into your overdraft.

The advantages of using a debit card to buy goods includes:

  • Debit cards are more secure and safer than carrying around large amounts of cash that could be lost or stolen.

  • There is no fee for using your debit card to access most ATMs or to purchase items in-store.

  • The majority of retailers (restaurants, shops and garages) accept debit cards when making purchases which is very convenient if you don’t have cash.

  • You are able to make purchases when you don’t have the money on your person, if you did not have time to get to an ATM, and the money comes straight out of your account.

  • Goods may be bought using the ‘contactless’ debit card which aims to speed up purchases and save time queuing in shops.

The disadvantages of using a debit card to buy goods includes:

  • If the debit cards is lost or stolen this can cause concern for the person as someone may use the card to buy goods (fraud) especially online.

  • A person may find it easy to spend money on impulse buying and not leave enough money in their bank account for bills or essential items.

  • If the card is lost it can be inconvenient cancelling the card and waiting for a new card and pin which may take up to seven days.

  • Contactless cards may be open to fraud as criminals may scam a debit card to steal money.

  • Some banks/shops may charge a small fee for using your debit card if under a certain amount or to access your money from your bank account.

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