After the creation of the Visa Check Card back in 1995, the debit card mania firmly grabbed hold of first America, and then the rest of the world. Debit cards were heralded as the greatest invention since charging interest was discovered by ancient banks. They were convenient. There was no debt to deal with — either you had the money or you didn’t. And they were widely, and happily, accepted. By 2009 debit cards were Numero Uno as a payment option worldwide.
But today consumers are beginning to realize that debit cards may not be all they’re cracked up to be, and credit cards are once again king of the payment hill. The statistics speak for themselves: forty percent of American consumers prefer using their credit cards for purchases; thirty-five percent prefer debit cards; and eleven percent only pay cash.
Why the slide in debit card use? Here are the main reasons, as discerned by financial experts:
A bogus credit card purchase is usually reimbursed rather easily. Not so with a debit card — consumers almost never see their money again if it’s stolen from a debit card.
Credit card purchases often are insured against breakage and defects — taking it back and getting the balance back on the card is easier than falling off a log. But there is no protection if a glass punchbowl gets dropped the second after it’s paid for by a debit card. Whoops . . . you lose!
And most troubling, debit card purchases automatically become the property of Big Data. They know every purchase made by debit card. With a credit card, there is still some privacy provided by the issuing bank or credit union.