Office of Enrollment Management

Credit Cards

Credit or Debit? What's the Difference?

Chart of Credit Cards versus Debit Card

Debit cards are connected to your bank account. There are usually few fees and they do not charge interest to use the money. If you overspend on your debit card the bank can charge overdraft fees. Check out your bank to understand the fees associated with over drafting and what protections they offer against it.

Compare banks and credit unions. You are their consumer. Look at fees for the type of account and expectations to compare financial institutions. Decide which works best for you and open your checking account there. Considerations include fees, online bill pay access, atm locations, branch locations, and any multiple account discounts. Many financial institutions waive account fees for students.

Credit cards are short-term loans. A financial institution, such as Visa or American Express, extend a line of credit to you. You can use the credit card to make purchases and at the end of the cycle pay your bill. If you pay your bill in its entirely each month, you will not be charged interest. What is not paid after that will be charged interest.

Chart of Pros and Cons for Credit Cards

Learn more about credit cards.

It is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of having a credit card. Paying your credit card in full every month will ensure you do not pay interest. This is a method some utilize to earn rewards. Be sure to consider your budget and if a credit card will encourage you to overspend.

Shop around! Just like debit cards, you are welcome to shop around for the annual percentage rate, fees, rewards, and more. They want your business as you are their consumer. Shop around for the best card for you. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your credit card.

Read more on terms and conditions.


How College Students Use Their Credit Cards

Is online shopping or dining a need or a want?
How can you reduce your credit card spending to reflect living like a student?

Credit Cards use rewards and incentives to encourage you to use their card. Take a moment to think of the interest rates on credit cards before using one.

Be a responsible borrower by tracking what you have borrowed.  Spend less on your needs and wants to reduce the amount needed to be taken out in student loans and credit cards. For example, could you live a bit further out to reduce your housing costs? Could you sell your car and utilize the bus system here? Yes, it may be a small sacrifice now, but the benefit of smaller student loans may offset that sacrifice.