Using debit card only a mistake?

Hey everyone,

So I have two credit cards which I use with no problem, always pay off the statement balance in full at the end of the month etc but I’m not the best at keeping track of my spending.

I’m considering going full Monzo and just using my debit card to keep track of my spends but is this a mistake in the long run for my credit record? Having a large amount of unused credit just sat on my credit card whereas if I used my credit cards monthly it shows I can control my finances?

Hopefully that makes sense it’s early on a Saturday…

Hi @ichbinmatt from a budgeting or financial control view Monzo is really great so I would really consider going full Monzo. Plus if you use your Monzo card you get real time transactions.

In terms of credit score, if you use too much of your available credit that can reduce your score. However having a large amount of credit available (but not used) could be a concern if you were looking for further borrowing.

What you could do is make some small payments with the CC and put the money spent into a pot and use that money in the pot to pay in full when you get your CC statement.

I think the best strategy is to use a credit card that has some kind of reward (Avios, cashback, etc.) for all purchases where possible. You get nothing for using a Monzo debit card.

There’s a guy at work with 80k of available credit… every time a 0% card comes out he gets it and transfers his balance. His score is >900.

Meanwhile stupid me who kept his credit limits deliberately low and always paid off every month was dinged to 710 for using too much of my available credit (A whole 1k! How ever will I cope!).

So you really want high limits… ideally multiples of what you’d ever use. It’s crazy and counter intuitive but that’s how the system works.

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If you can (and clearly you can) use a credit card this way, then that’s as good as it gets. As said elsewhere here…

…accumulating some sort of reward in the process is icing on the cake.

Going “Full Monzo” isn’t about having all your eggs in the one basket. It’s more about establishing it as your primary account, paying your salary into it and setting up the appropriate DDs from it.

Ditching your credit card(s) in favour of a one-stop shop approach might sound neat and uncluttered, but it doesn’t improve your financial standing - it simply deprives you of a well-controlled funding stream with benefits.

The way things are, you’re in a good place. Go “FM” and continue to use your credit wisely.

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I very much use my jaja credit card along side my monzo account, I find it to be a great way of keeping tabs on my spending. Jaja is pretty much the credit card that monzo would create.

I’m one of the first to use Jaja, the next generation credit card. Discover more and get early access here https://www.jaja.co.uk

Credit cards come with some really nice benefits.

  • Protection on transactions that debit cards just don’t offer
  • Points and reward systems for people for cashback, air miles ect.
  • Get some of the more ‘exclusive’ cards and fringe perks are really good on some of them
  • A low APR credit card is actually cheaper than most overdrafts (I know NatWest charge 20% vs 10% on the low APR cards)

So yes, credit cards have their uses. but I know I’m not great with using credit cards and I really dont want one again. So it does at times feel like a penalty for people who dont want to use them.

Ignore your credit score and concentrate on your credit history.

The scores are made up and mean nothing in the real world.

I only use my for purchases over £100. Cashback just isn’t worth the risk of a lack of control any more.

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There’s no cost associated with having unused credit: I have… at least £30,000 available across a few different cards and I use probably 5% of that at most and my credit rating is great. As Paul said, history is what matters, responsible use of credit is key and access to a lot of unused credit shows responsible behaviour because an irresponsible person would spend up to their limit.

That said, personally I do not use a debit card ever. I spend only on a credit card – which is paid off in full every month – because debit cards provide direct access to your money and your bank cares a lot less about your money than they care about theirs.

If your debit card is stolen and the thief drains your account, you can contact your bank and report the transactions as fraudulent and they’ll investigate… and until the investigation is complete, your account is empty… and that can take weeks. Look around this forum for tales of people having fraudulent transactions empty their accounts and then being unable to pay rent because they have to wait days/weeks for an investigation to complete before the money is returned.

If your credit card is stolen and the thief uses every penny of your available balance, you can contact your bank and they’ll immediately freeze those transactions and investigate so they can recover their money – which matters a lot more than your money. The moment the transactions are frozen your balance is back and you can continue your life as normal, the fraud has no impact on your life.

A credit card has transactions whereas a bank account has money. When you make a payment with a credit card, you’re spending the banks money, when you make a payment with a debit card you’re spending your money.

Although you can work around the debit card issue by having multiple bank accounts, each containing enough money for you to live if the other is compromised, it’s a lot of overhead that just isn’t worth it when you can use a credit card instead.

The only situation in which I’d recommend against a credit card is for someone who has trouble controlling their spending and needs the safety net that spending from a bank account with no credit facility provides. For someone in that situation the risk of using credit irresponsibly is far higher than the risk of an account being compromised.

Monzo is my primary bank account, I use it for all direct debits and standing orders, but my Monzo debit card is permanently frozen and I have never used it, and I never will use it, because that provides direct access to my bank account and that’s a risk that it is pointless to take. A credit card does everything a debit card does, and has greater protections and provides rewards…

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A really interesting account, @42644, particularly your stance on debit card usage.

I’ve not seen it expressed in such strong terms before and you’ll definitively scare a few horses here. :flushed:

A good read, nonetheless.

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That’s a fair point, I should probably have clarified that the risk of an account being compromised is slim, especially as online security improves, it’s certainly not something I expect to ever happen[1] but given the consequences if it does happen and the cost of avoiding it (by using a credit card) it makes no sense for me to ever use a debit card. That said, there’s definitely exceptions: if I had spending problems and worried about overextending myself, I would definitely consider it more sensible to use a debit card instead of credit.

[1] I actually experienced it a month ago, a credit card I very rarely use – it’s a mastercard, only used when American Express isn’t accepted – was compromised and used to buy £100 worth of donuts online.

I hope the police have the culprit in custard-y.

I’ll get my coat :zipper_mouth_face:

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If that’s not worthy of a ban then I don’t know what is.

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I heard they were in a jam, and when asked just stared with a glazed expression and said “we donut know who did it” :man_shrugging:

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I was thinking of something about jam but then realised I’ve got some values…:woozy_face:

Here’s your :coat:

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This is precisely the reason why all credit and debit cards should have the temporary freeze facility available. I freeze my Virgin cc whenever I’m not using it. I just wish Amex UK would introduce it in their App.

The only downside I had recently freezing one of my debit cards which I don’t actually use that often, even though it is a main account, was that a monthly debit card payment on a printer ink plan was declined because my card was frozen. I got an email from the printer company telling me to update my details. I unfroze my card and it auto corrected.

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Could anybody clarify in two sentences, when a credit card purchase needs to be paid before incurring interest? My due date is the 12th each month.

If making a purchase on the 4th, will that carry over to the following month? So confused, looking for clarification.

Thank you

It all depends on when your statement is produced if you purchase something the day after it’s produced u have u till the payment is due on the following months statement to pay it off but all depends on if your clear your balance each month or not

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I use a credit card for all my purchases, in part for the security aspect and in part because I get cashback. I use the financial app Emma which gives me a breakdown by category of my spending and helps me stay on budget.

I only use my Monzo debit card for cash, since using a credit card means you incur interest straight away. Where as I clear my card monthly so never incur interest.

Regarding the last post, you will get only an interest free period if you’ve paid the card in full or the card is running some sort of offer. If you leave any balance on the card then you’ll incur interest and there by losing much of the benefit of using a credit card.

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I strongly agree with all the comments that @42644 makes regarding a debit card giving access to your money while a credit card uses the bank’s money, and the additional protections and rewards you can get with a credit card.

The only additional thing I say when someone (occasionally) asks my advice about these things is that you need to make sure you can manage a credit card responsibly. If you can’t trust yourself with a credit limit on a credit card, either don’t bother or get the bank to give you a lower limit you know you can pay off each month.

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