Credit cards offer rewards, purchase protections and other benefits. They can shield users from the financial effects of fraud, and, when used wisely, can help consumers build good credit. But more Americans say they would pull out their debit card than a credit card when paying for everyday purchases, according to a new NerdWallet survey.
In an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted by Harris Poll in August 2017, we asked about the payment methods people primarily use for everyday purchases, how they feel about different payment methods and whether they've ever had credit card debt, among other things.
Here's what we learned:
- More than 2 in 5 Americans (44 percent) say they primarily use debit cards for everyday purchases, like groceries and gas; 34 percent say they primarily use credit cards.
- Almost three-quarters of Americans who primarily use debit cards for everyday purchases (71 percent) say they have been in credit card debt.
- About 1 in 4 Americans (24 percent) believe, incorrectly, that purchase activity on a debit card affects a person's credit score.
We also talked to NerdWallet's resident credit card and banking expert, Kimberly Palmer, about when it makes sense to use debit and when credit is the better option.