"It may be an outfit you're familiar with and trust, but something might go wrong," says Breyault, "and you need protection." Be aware that some cedit cards will limit the protection to a specific time period, says Feddis. We've all heard about the gym that won't stop billing an ex-member's credit card.Now imagine the charges aren't going onto your card, but instead coming right out of your bank account."With a debit card, you have fewer protections," she says.In addition, some credit card benefits include extended warrantees. Otherwise, you also risk paying some high-ticket interest.But the protections don't relieve consumers of hassle: The prospect of trying to get money put back into their bank account and the problems that a lower-than-expected balance can cause in terms of fees and refused checks or payments make some online shoppers reach first for their credit cards.With a big-ticket item, paying with a credit card is smarter, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. A credit card offers dispute rights if something goes wrong with the merchandise or the purchase.Here are 10 places and situations in which it can pay to leave that debit card in your wallet: "You don't use a debit card online," says Susan Tiffany, retired director of consumer periodicals for the Credit Union National Association.
When Peter Garuccio rented some home improvement equipment at a big-box store, it required a sizable deposit.For the same reason, Linda Foley, who founded the Identity Theft Resource Center in 1999, suggests not using your debit card for phone orders.The Federal Reserve's Regulation E (commonly dubbed Reg E), covers debit card transfers.Book your travel with a debit card, and "they debit it immediately," says Foley.So if you're buying travel that you won't use for six months or making a reservation for a few weeks from now, you'll be out the money immediately.A hold is almost unnoticeable if you're using credit, but can be problematic if you're using a debit card and have just enough in the account to cover what you need.It helps to ask about deposits and holds before you present your card, says Feddis.Buying now but taking delivery days or weeks from now?A credit card offers dispute rights that a debit card typically does not.Sometimes reaching for your wallet is like a multiple choice test: How do you really want to pay?While credit cards and debit cards may look almost identical, not all plastic is the same.