The Pros and Cons of Credit, Debit, and Charge Cards [UltraNewb]

15 Apr/09

In a world where out-of-hand credit led to serious debt on both Wall Street and Main Street (here you thought those cliches had been put to rest), it’s time for a little personal finance 101. Photo by Andres Rueda . The Simple Dollar personal finance weblog takes a beginner’s look at the pros and cons of three kinds of plastic: Charge cards, debit cards , and credit cards —explaining the differences between each, including the advantages and disadvantages of each payment method. For example: Charge cards are often confused with credit cards, but they actually function in a fairly different fashion. Like credit cards, charge cards extend credit to you from the issuer, but you’re required to pay the full balance at the end of the month. Some charge cards also have an annual membership fee. Charge cards are typically associated with American Express; many store chains often issue their own charge cards as well which can only be used at that store. To be honest, this editor had always assumed charge cards were the same as credit cards, but then I may be behind the curve on this one. You probably already have a strong good handle on what your various cards do, but the point of the post is that one card type may work better than another for specific types of purchases, so knowing which to use in any given situation is important

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