Do you know how to properly manage your debit and credit accounts?
Each account and its accompanying card is a vital tool your financial arsenal. To make the most of credit and debit, here is how you can manage these financial tools:
How to Manage Debit
Debit is almost always tied to your checking account. Whenever you swipe your debit card in person or use it online, the funds are immediately withdrawn from your checking account.
As such, using your debit card is a helpful way to monitor your spending because if you don’t have the money in your account, you truly can’t afford to make a purchase.
“Using your debit card is a helpful way to monitor your spending.”
Another benefit of debit cards is their quick access to cash. If you’ve ever found yourself at a cash-only restaurant, having the ability to withdraw cash directly from your checking account can be a life-saver.
An additional advantage of using a debit card include convenience because they’re accepted everywhere cards can be used and are easy to obtain.
However, there are some things to be aware of when using debit. While banks (including Bank Midwest) will do everything in their power to protect you from debit card fraud, any fraudulent charges that do occur will pull funds from your checking account. Until the charge disputes are resolved, that money will already be withdrawn from your account and could be sorely missed if you need cash.
This is why you should be selective when using your debit card. Only use it at reputable stores and ATMs. Always be on the lookout for suspicious-looking ATMs which may be rigged with skimming devices that could steal your card’s information.
Relying on debit is a good way to avoid building up credit card debt, or if you’re in the process of paying off debt. If you’ll be using debit a lot, consider opening up a new checking account in addition to the account tied to the debit card. This way, you can transfer money for important bills like rent and food into the other account not connected to the debit card. If the debit card is lost or stolen, all of your money won’t be at risk.
Debit cards issued by some banks, including Bank Midwest’s personal debit cards, can be managed through online or mobile banking apps. If a card is misplaced, turn it off temporarily and turn them back on when the card is recovered. In addition to turning cards off and on, you can control how the card can be used by merchant type (grocery stores, gas stations, etc.), how much can be spent with the card, and the type of transaction (in-store, mail/phone order, online, etc.).
How to Manage Credit
Managing credit is more difficult because of how easy it is to fall into the routine of “swipe now, pay later.”
When it comes to managing credit, you first need to monitor your spending like a hawk. While your credit limit may be thousands of dollars, you never actually want to get anywhere close to maxing out a card because that will ruin your credit score. Be sure to set up alerts for every card. This way, if you start nearing your limit, you’ll know you need to cut back on spending.
Next is security. Credit cards offer more robust security options than debit and checking accounts. You aren’t liable for any fraudulent charges made using your card, small or large. So if you’re hesitant to use your debit card at a store, feel free to switch to credit.
Then there are the extras that don’t come with using debit. Most credit cards have some type of rewards or cash back program you should take advantage of. As rewards build up, you may be able to apply them to your monthly statements to help cover the cost of some expenses.
Finally, always pay your monthly statement on time and in full.
The key to managing credit is to always be aware. It’s very easy to suddenly find yourself in debt, but luckily, you can avoid this by monitoring spending and using rewards programs to pay for purchases.
Juggling credit and debit cards might seem overwhelming, but if you take a step back, you’ll find that managing credit and debit cards isn’t that difficult.