Financial Friday: When to Use Cash, Credit, Debit or Check

Financial Friday, Stetson University

How do you know when to use cash, credit, debit card or a check? Good question. Important question.

Cash is convenient when documentation of a purchase doesn’t matter. Paying by credit card, debit card or by check is an effective way to document a purchase, and it is often more efficient than asking for and receiving a receipt for a cash transaction.

Thorne Betty
Betty Thorne, Ph.D.

Debit cards help owners control their spending better, because you can only spend up to the amount in the bank account associated with the debit card.

Credit cards provide additional protection, but must be paid in a timely manner to avoid costly interest and fees. (It’s dangerously easy to let those credit card balances build up.) In addition to having billing errors corrected, you can generally dispute charges for unsatisfactory goods or services if you have first contacted the seller to resolve the issue. If your credit card is lost or stolen, you are only responsible for the first $50 of unauthorized charges per card, and that amount is sometimes waived.

Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., Stetson University professor
Valrie Chambers, Ph.D.

Additional information and safety tips on credit cards are available at the government’s Federal Trade Commission website.

Professors Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., and Betty Thorne, Ph.D., are responsible for the content of this message. This announcement is part of the Financial Friday series. Every Friday, students receive an announcement that is meant to bolster their financial wellness, including preventing financial mistakes, tips for safeguarding their assets including their financial identity and tips on how to critically think about financial decisions that need to be made.