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Debit Cards – A Thing of the Past?


Multiple technological advancements in the last ten years have changed our lifestyle tremendously. Mobile devices have become crucial. We look up the news, buy stuff, read books, and even gamble online from our smartphones. With e-Wallets, mobile payment systems like Neteller used for swift deposits in iGaming and cryptocurrencies becoming so popular, are credit and debit cards slowly but steadily turning into a thing of the past? Will even the best debit cards have to offer alternative (much more modern) banking solutions in order to stay afloat? Let’s think it through and draw some logical conclusions.

Debit Cards are Slowly Sinking

So, why would one even think that debit cards are becoming a thing of the past? Here are a few reasons:

  • Debit cards are not cashback-friendly. Unlike credit cards, debit cards won’t let you earn financial rewards on purchases that you make on a regular basis. In addition to this, there are credit cards that reward you with money for each mile that you travel. You can eventually spend this money on plane tickets, places to stay, and cars to rent. Debit cards don’t offer this feature.
  • Having cash on hand is no longer a priority. Debit cards used to be highly popular because of the possibility to withdraw cash from the ATM. But is it that necessary now? Today we no longer need cash to buy things on the internet, go to a movie or even pay for dinner.
  • A hacked/stolen debit card is a disaster. With plenty of security features and notifications that you sign up for when you get a credit card, your credit card company will regularly notify you whenever unauthorized charges are made to your account. Credit card companies keep track of your purchases round the clock, so they will instantly let you know if any fraudulent charges are noticed. Additionally, credit card companies are insured against fraud. Typically, if your card is stolen, your account charges will be refunded. When it comes to debit cards, the situation is different. They’re not as fast and efficient, and you will have to wait a really long time for the charges to be refunded. Generally speaking, debit cards are riskier, they are much more prone to fraud compared to credit cards.
  • Debit cards are less easy to use than e-Wallets. You have to carry your debit card with you all the time, while your e-Wallet ‘lives’ as an application in your mobile device making your payments as easy and quick as smiling at someone you love.
  • The debit card requires having a bank account. With all the mobile payment options available these days, you don’t even have to open an account with your local bank to process payments. Absolute freedom!

In addition to all this, you can face multiple fees when using a debit card. Here are some of the most frequent ones: ATM fees, international transaction fees, overdraft etc. Furthermore, unlike credit cards, debit cards won’t allow you to build a credit history so that you could get a big loan for your fundamentally expensive purchases (e.g. house, vehicle etc.). To cut a long story short, the biggest disadvantage of debit cards on the current e-commerce scene is that the level of customer protection they provide is really low.

New Payments Pushing Debit Cards From The Throne

According to studies from 2017, e-wallets have long surpassed debit cards in the United States. In fact, credit cards are still quite popular, but with the rapid growth of mobile banking solutions, the online payment scene may change significantly. More and more people switch to using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay instead of the traditional debit/credit card solution. It’s only natural since these days people tend to choose what’s hype, fast and convenient.

Even though in 2016 debit cards were the ultimate banking solution in the US, today they seem to be slowly becoming a lot less popular giving up their leadership position to the cutting-edge payment solutions. Our future is all about digital technology, that’s a fact. Mobile debit card usage hasn’t been fully launched yet. But have you heard about Bitcoin debit cards? This classic-meets-modern innovation may become one of the game-changers for debit cards and alter their potentially not-so-bright prospects.

In a nutshell, only time will tell if debit cards are a thing of the past or a potential vision of a very promising, highly evolved future. 

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Paul A. Ebeling, a polymath, excels, in diverse fields of knowledge Including Pattern Recognition Analysis in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange, and he is the author of "The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a highly regarded, weekly financial market commentary. He is a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to over a million cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognize Ebeling as an expert.