Can You Use a Debit Card as a Credit Card for Online Purchases?

Debit card

The advent of technology has indeed added beauty to the buying experience. Thanks to the introduction of online transactions aided with cards, an individual can now make remote purchases from the comfort of their homes. With your credit or debit card, you could purchase a product from a country on another continent. Technology has made things that easy. However, the use of these cards is marred by several controversies, one of which is using a debit card as a credit when buying things online.

Using a debit card as a credit for online purchases is possible in some scenario. For instance, if the merchant only accepts credit cards, you won’t be able to use a debit card. However, if the merchant didn’t specify, you should be able to do so with a Visa or a MasterCard.

A credit card and a debit card may be two different cards, but sometimes they can be used interchangeably. A competent financial expert will always advise you to use a credit card when making an online purchase because it protects users against fraud. However, if you don’t have a credit card, for one reason or another, can you make an online purchase by using such a card as a credit card? Well, it depends. If you are eager to find out more, I suggest you pay rapt attention.

Can You Use a Debit Card as a Credit Card for Online Purchases?

Before the introduction of the internet and technology that enabled online transaction, people made purchases with cash. This made it challenging to make certain transactions, as the necessary technology and platforms were lacking. But, with the advent of the internet, including online transaction platforms, remote transactions were made possible using debit or credit cards.

Of course, debit and credit cards boast of several similarities, but that doesn’t make them identical. The difference in debit and a credit card lies in where the money is being withdrawn from after a transaction. For instance, if you purchase an air freshener with a debit card, the funds for the purchase will be removed from your bank account. However, it’s different when you use a credit card.

When you purchase a product with a credit card, you are directly lending money from your card issuer to pay for the purchased item. At the end of the month, the total debt owed on the card is calculated, and you can decide to repay it in instalments or monthly. To perform a transaction using your debit card, your account has to have enough funds for the transaction to be successful. On the other hand, you can make a purchase with your credit card even with a zero account balance.

Sometimes, when paying for a purchase at a payment counter, people use a debit card in place of a credit card. That is, they select the credit card option rather than the debit card option even if they intend to pay using the latter. While this wouldn’t result in any challenges for you or the merchant, doing so will definitely affect how the transaction is processed. What I’m trying to indicate here is that, when you use a debit card in place of credit when paying for a product, the transaction will go through (offline) and it’ll take around two to three days.

However, if you select the debit card option while using a debit card to pay for a purchased item, the transaction will go through immediately. Now, while this is possible when paying for an item, it is quite different when the item is being bought online, probably from Amazon or one of those online retail stores. Of course, you can use your debit card as a credit card when buying an item online, but this isn’t possible all the time. What does this entail?

You see, not all merchant accepts payment via a debit card. In fact, most merchants accept payment via credit card, and it is advised that individuals make an online payment using a credit card due to the extra layer of protection it offers. And, also, because credit card users are protected by the Truth in Lending Act. So, if you intend to buy an item online from a store that only accepts credit cards, your debit card will be declined.

However, if the merchant didn’t specify, and your debit card is international, there a possibility that the transaction will go through (if you have adequate funds in your account). Also, note that using a debit card to make credit card transactions doesn’t magically turn your debit card into a credit card. The money wouldn’t be paid by a card issuer because you don’t have an actual credit card. Instead, it’ll be withdrawn from your bank account.

What Are the Risks of Using a Debit Card Online?

When it comes to spending money, people have a different preference. Some people love making and receiving payment in cash, while others prefer making payment via credit or debit card. These days, most people prefer using cards to make purchases due to the convenience it offers. However, a huge percentage of these individuals prefer to use a credit card when making online purchases because of the risk associated with using a debit card online.

Using a debit card online can be risky. First off, debit card users are not protected against fraud, and disputes with such cards are hard to resolve. Also, if you displaced your card or it gets stolen, your entire bank account becomes vulnerable.

According to a survey initiated in March 2017, 42% of online shoppers stated that they prefer to utilize a credit card when making online transactions. People like to use credit cards for online purchases because it protects them against fraud and unauthorized transactions. Also, credit cards users are protected by the Truth in Lending Act.

The Truth in Lending Act states that you aren’t responsible for any debts if you report that your credit card has been misplaced or nicked before an unauthorized transaction was initiated. In addition, there exist a 50% limit on liability, even after your lost card has been swiped or used to make a transaction.

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