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The difference between Credit and Debit cards

Understand what credit and debit cards are, how they work and what they do.


What are Credit and Debit cards?

Credit and debit cards are a very safe and convenient way to pay for goods and services in shops or online anywhere in the world. But, unlike cash or cheques, if something goes wrong when paying by card, you benefit from a range of protections.

Defining a credit and debit card

  • A Credit Card - allows you to borrow up to a credit limit, and to make flexible repayments. You can pay off in full by a set date without incurring interest, or pay back a lesser amount which normally means you’ll be charged interest
  • A Debit Card - is linked to your current account. The amount of the purchase is usually debited from your available balance on the same day, although it can take a few days for your statement to be updated. In the UK, debit cards are generally free to use.

Contactless Credit and Debit cards

Some cards also provide contactless payments for purchases of up to £30 while having exactly the same security protections as non-contactless cards. Similarly, mobile, wristband and watch devices supporting contactless payments are equally as secure.

Learn more about contactless cards here in the dedicated section of our website.

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