How to Save Money Using a Debit Card

Although it's used much like a credit card, when you use a debit card, the payment comes directly out of your bank account. There's no waiting period. The money is electronically withdrawn from your account right away. Debit cards have many advantages over other financial instruments like credit cards and checks. For one, they can save you money.

Use your debit card like it's a credit card. After you (or the salesperson) slides your debit card across the scanner, you'll be asked to key-in your PIN (personal identification number). Instead of doing this, hit the "cancel" key or tell the salesperson it's a "credit" transaction. The amount of the purchase will still be immediately withdrawn from your bank account. But, you won't be charged a fee for using your debit card.

Use your debit card to pay for purchases and you won't need to buy checks. Paper checks can cost around 27 cents each.

Use your debit card to pay your monthly bills and make purchases, and you'll save money on postage stamps and envelopes. You won't need to write out checks and send in payments.

Save money by using a debit card only at your bank's ATM to make cash withdraws. There are several banks that allow you to use your card at any of their locations without charging fees. If you use your debit card at another bank, you'll be assessed usage fees.

Avoid bouncing checks and paying overdraft fees by using your debit card instead. When your card is swiped through a machine, your transaction will be completed if you have a large enough bank balance to cover the transaction. If not, your debit card will be denied. You may then cancel the transaction or pay for it with another financial instrument. Some banks allow you to tie your debit card to a savings account so you have a back-up source in case your main account runs dry.

Pay a bill by phone that you forgot to write and send a check for by using your debit card. This way, the bill will be paid immediately with the funds in your checking account you were going to use anyhow. And, you'll save money by not paying late fees on the bill.

Learn financial discipline by using a debit card instead of credit cards. Knowing the purchase you're about to make will be deducted from your bank account can make you think twice about spending on unnecessary items.


  • Most debit cards have cash-back awards and other reward programs just like credit cards do.


  • To avoid unnecessary fees and penalties, make sure you're aware of the rules and regulations regarding your debit card.
    Some companies charge you a processing fee to pay bills over the phone.