Pushed by the banks for years, debit cards have become a popular way to pay for everything from gas to groceries using money from your checking account.
However, Clark doesn’t like debit cards at all and calls them “piece of trash fake Visa and fake MasterCards.”
2 reasons why Clark hates debit cards
This might seem a little confusing since you’ve probably heard other people sing the praises about these plastic cards, but Clark’s argument can be summed up with just two main points.
1. Debit cards are inferior to credit cards
A lot of people use debit cards to keep themselves from overspending and going into credit card debt, which is fair enough. But the problem is that debit cards are full of hidden dangers.
Think about it this way: If someone steals your debit card, which is linked to your checking account, they could easily wipe out your entire balance in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, if someone makes fraudulent charges on your credit card, no money actually leaves your hands.
And another security concern is that debit cards aren’t typically protected the same way as credit cards.
“A debit card doesn’t have the protections of a credit card,’ Clark said. ‘If your debit card is compromised, your rights under federal law are vastly inferior to your rights with a credit card.’
Read more about the differences between debit and credit card protections.
2. Debit cards are inferior to cash
Banks will encourage you to use your debit card to buy things all over town, but would you be spending so freely if you were using cash? Don’t underestimate the psychological effect.
Once you spend the cash in your wallet, it’s gone. However, you can use the same debit card over and over again.
“There’s a sense of finiteness with physical cash that you don’t have with a piece of plastic,” Clark said. “If you know that you haven’t been able to discipline yourself, nothing beats cash.”
So if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, ditch plastic (credit and debit) and use cash to pay for whatever you can. It might seem like a throwback to a different era, but this low-tech method really works.
Read more: Managing your money the old-fashioned way
Watch below: Why Clark doesn’t like debit cards
The one and only reason to use a debit card
Even though Clark doesn’t like debit cards, he still has one in his wallet! Why? To pull money out of an ATM. It’s the only time he ever uses it.
To reduce the risk of being scammed, only use your debit card at a bank-affiliated ATM.
Weighing the pros and cons
Now that you’ve heard straight from Clark about his position on debit cards, you can decide for yourself what’s the best way to manage your money — and we’re here to help you.
If you’re going to use a debit card anyway, we just want you to take some precautions.
In our new Common Cents video series, Clark.com Managing Editor Alex Sadler explains the pros and cons of these cards, including the places you never want to use one.