PERSONAL FINANCE

A no-brainer: Why I only use credit cards rather than debit cards

Using credit is safer and more rewarding

In Summary

• Using credit is safer, more convenient and earns rewards

• You don't need cash as often as you think 

using credit is safer, more convenient, and helps me earn rewards that most debit cards simply don't.
using credit is safer, more convenient, and helps me earn rewards that most debit cards simply don't.
Image: Standard Chartered

Often when I've told people that I don't own a debit card, they get surprised and even shocked. I have my good reasons and I think you too should copy me. I find using credit is safer, more convenient, and helps me earn rewards that most debit cards simply don't.

The last time I told my friends that I don't use a debit card, they gave me a reprimanding look and were short of saying that I've gone crazy.

"So you don't have a debit card. How exactly do you get by?"

 

I literally have not owned a debit card for the last seven years. I use credit cards instead. The risks people fail to think about when using debit cards are in plenty and it could be that this might not be the best choice for you financially.

To the many people who keep asking, "Why?", this is for you.

1. I don't want to pay ATM fees

Have you ever found yourself in a fix and you wanted to use a non-bank ATM? I've discovered that ATMs can charge you a nice and lovely fee just for getting out your own money. This doesn't make sense to me — why do I have to pay to get my money? Having experienced hefty withdrawal fees as high as sh.100 per withdrawal, I think that has now become unnecessary.

If I'm not using a debit card, I don't have to think about going to the ATM or worry about them at all. Besides, I rarely find a shop or restaurant that doesn't have a machine which will take my VISA credit card and if I do, I can always adjust my plans. If I need cash for something, I withdraw it from my account ahead of time.

My credit card also allows me to transfer cash to my MPesa or Airtel Money wallet so you see, it's not easy to get stuck in the mud.

2. I earn rewards with my spending

 

This is the stuff life is made of. Over the last few years, I have racked up huge rewards which include discounts, cash back and travel rewards. I'm on auto-pilot because I have put everything I buy on my credit card. I don't even have to think about it, and the rewards just stack up.

For me, this really is another form of free money. Give it a thought!

Standard Chartered credit cards have brilliant rewards and if you're a responsible credit user and pay off your card every month, this is like extra free cash!
Standard Chartered credit cards have brilliant rewards and if you're a responsible credit user and pay off your card every month, this is like extra free cash!
Image: Standard Chartered

After I upgraded to the Standard Chartered VISA Infinite Credit Card two years ago, I have been able to earn tens of thousands of points that I will redeem for travel, cash, or other amazing perks. Mind you, Standard Chartered credit cards have brilliant rewards and if you're a responsible credit user and pay off your card every month, this is like extra free cash!

Every time I use my Standard Chartered Infinite Credit Card to pay for dining and fuel bills, I am rewarded with 5% cash back.

I also earn 2 reward points on every purchase worth sh.100 on my credit card and even purchases on my supplementary credit card earns me reward points. Like I said, I don't even think about it. The more I spend, the more reward points I accumulate. The process to reclaim points is straightforward and easy. A simple visit to https://rewards.sc.com/ke/ followed by registration does the trick.

Even more benefits

Besides the points, I get complimentary travel insurance when I purchase travel tickets or make hotel reservations with my VISA Infinite card. The card gives me access to emergency Medical Expenses & Repatriation Benefits of up to USD 2.5 million. The cover includes my partner, my child and/or parents and parents-in-law (all aged under 85 years right now which is a qualification for them).

I get complimentary travel insurance when I purchase travel tickets or make hotel reservations with my VISA Infinite card
I get complimentary travel insurance when I purchase travel tickets or make hotel reservations with my VISA Infinite card
Image: Killian Pham on Unsplash

3. Credit cards provide better security

Have you ever lost your debit card and became a victim of fraud? It's happened to me and I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone else. Lost my card and I wasn't aware of it. Someone figured out my PIN and literally had direct access to my bank account (yes, that means everything in it). I learnt that it's way much harder to prove fraud with a debit card, and it was depressing when it happened.

However, if fraud occurs on my credit card, I simply dispute it, flag it and let the good guys at Standard Chartered handle it.

The card gives me protection against abuse or misuse (for the first 24 hours) to the extent of a maximum limited liability of sh.200,000 for any one event and sh.400,000 per card account per year. I only need to report loss or theft of the card within 24 hours and claiming the insurance benefits of any misuse of the funds on your card is easy because I only you need to produce a copy of the police abstract.

Lastly, my credit card provides extended purchase warranties. This means if something happens to the product bought — such as it broke unexpectedly or was stolen — they will reimburse my purchase. The extended warranty benefit also extends the original manufacturer’s warranty for an item purchased up to 24 months.

Now that's service!

4. I've never really needed a debit card

My mentor has never had a debit card and he instilled this in me. If I ever need cash — usually for a trip — I visit the bank and withdraw the money from my account. Most merchants take VISA credit cards anyway but I always keep about sh.1,500/= to sh4,000/= of cash on me in case of emergency. When I travel, I tend to carry more for security and I withdraw this from the bank before I leave.

Unless you're going somewhere remote, you're most likely not going to need a debit card.

The choice is yours to make.

Credit cards provide numerous benefits that you can take advantage of and only the good ones are recommended. A debit-card-free lifestyle requires some degree of deliberate planning and it can work wonders. It's another way to make your money work for you and not the other way around. It provides more security. I have found myself better with money, and I get cash back or rewards or discounts for every single purchase I make. This is a big win anytime.

Standard Chartered offer a range of credit cards to enhance your lifestyle. Travel, cashback and rewards! Visit https://www.sc.com/ke/credit-cards/ and get started!

Standard Chartered offer a range of credit cards to enhance your lifestyle.
Standard Chartered offer a range of credit cards to enhance your lifestyle.
Image: Standard Chartered