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Always Use Your Debit Card for These 5 Purchases, According to Financial Experts

You may want to rethink using your credit card for everyday expenses.

Prevailing financial wisdom suggests you make your big-ticket purchases with a credit card. Thanks to the litany of perks affiliated with today's credit cards, you'll get some money back with each statement. And if you remember to pay off your card in full at the end of the month, you won't get slammed with brutal interest rates. But still, sometimes it's better to shop with a debit card—even if it means missing out on the points and perks. To learn more about this, keep reading to hear from financial experts about the five purchases you should make with a debit card.

READ THIS NEXT: Never Use Your Credit Card for These 6 Purchases, According to Financial Experts.

Use Your Debit Card for These 5 Purchases

1. Utilities

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Your electric, water, rent, and other utility bills can come with credit card transaction fees, according to Percy Grunwald, co-founder of the bank-rating database site Compare Banks. These fees might seem ineffectually small, but over time, they add up. By using a debit card, you'll avoid them entirely. But that's not the only way you save money by using a debit card.

"Some debit cards also offer cashback rewards, which can help you save money on your purchases," Grunwald adds.

Just make sure not to set up automatic payments if you move your bills to your debit card. Otherwise, if you're not careful, you could overdraft your account!

2. ATM withdrawals

Young woman talking on the mobile phone and using ATM and taking cash from the card

If you're in a pinch for cash and can't get to your own bank, it's still best to use a debit card for ATM withdrawals, even if you'll have to pay a fee, notes TD Bank.

They explain that, according to, with a credit card, you'll likely have to pay $10 or five percent of the transaction, whichever is higher, at an ATM. "On top of the cash advance fee, you'll usually pay a higher interest rate on the cash advance amount, an average APR of 24.80%."

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Times You Should Still Pay by Check, According to Financial Experts.

3. Some foreign transactions

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Depending on your bank, your debit card may have lower foreign transaction fees than your credit card. For the latter, the fee is usually three percent, according to Nerd Wallet. For debit cards, however, they say it's typically one to three percent. And with larger purchases, saving two percent can really make a difference.

It's always best to check the terms of your debit or credit card, though, as these fees vary.

4. For your kids

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Debit cards can be invaluable for teaching your children the art of financial responsibility.

"I'm a big fan of using debit cards with kids or teens who are just starting to use money on a daily basis," Tim Melia, CFP, principal of Embolden Financial Planning, tells Best Life. "It's a great opportunity for them to track the money in their checking accounts and they can only spend as much as they have, [without] over-extending on credit."

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5. Food and everyday expenses

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"Since a debit card is linked to your bank account, it can help you stay on budget by limiting your spending to the amount of available money," Gabriel Lalonde, CFP, the president of MDL Financial Group, says. "When you use a debit card, you are spending money that you already have in your bank account… You don't have to worry about accumulating debt, interest charges, or late fees."

For this reason, Lalonde says it's easier to stay on budget if you pay for everyday expenses with a debit card.

The most obvious everyday expense is your food, from dinners at restaurants to groceries to daily trips to the coffee shop. For small shops, you may also avoid paying credit card processing fees. If you're struggling to budget, consider using your debit card for things like bus or train fares, too.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date financial information from top experts and the latest news and research, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the money you're spending, saving, or investing, always consult your financial advisor directly.

Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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