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Bottom Line Up Front

  • The basic difference between debit and credit cards is that with debit, the money comes from your checking account rather than from a line of credit.
  • Debit cards are protected from fraudulent activity, and using a PIN makes it hard for thieves to make withdrawals at an ATM.

Time to Read

3 minutes

May 5, 2022


Are credit cards more secure than debit cards?

They’re equally secure. While debit cards are funded by your checking account, and credit cards allow you to borrow money to make your purchases, there’s no difference in their fraud protection. And, fraudulent charges are handled the same way for both. In general, cardholders notify their financial institutions about unauthorized charges and may get a credit while the institution confirms or denies the claim. At Navy Federal, cardholders are covered by our Zero Liability policy, which protects them from losing money in the event of confirmed fraud.

Will using my debit card affect my credit score?

No. Credit scores are based on borrowing and payment history. In general, they’re calculated based on your credit history—factors like whether you make card payments on time, if you have different kinds of credit, how long you’ve been using credit and how much you have. Using debit cards doesn’t affect your credit score at all, even if you choose “credit” at checkout, because you aren’t borrowing to make your purchases.

Is there a difference between transactions using my PIN (personal identification number) and credit transactions on a debit card?

Although there’s no difference between PIN and credit transactions at checkout, having a PIN does help keep your money safe if your card number is lost or stolen and a thief tries to make a withdrawal from your bank account at an ATM.

Are there limits on how much I can withdraw from my checking account with my debit card?

Yes. To protect cardholders against theft, financial institutions set daily limits on ATM withdrawals and cash back at the cash register. Navy Federal Credit Union’s daily limit on debit cards is $3,000 for all checking account types except Flagship Checking, which is $5,000. The ATM daily limit is $1,000.

Can I use my debit card for small purchases?

Yes. Using a debit card is like using cash. So, as long as you have the funds in your account, you can use it to pay for anything—even if it only costs a penny!


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This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.