Frequently asked questions

Comparing Debit and Credit Cards

 

What’s the difference between debit and credit cards?

  • A debit card uses funds from your checking account for payments, and the debit card “limit” is the available balance in your checking account. In addition to making purchases, you can also use your debit card at ATMs to get cash, make deposits, view your account balance, and transfer funds.
  • A credit card uses funds you borrow from the bank to pay for purchases. Since a credit card is a loan, you will be charged interest on purchases if you do not pay your entire balance by the due date each month. Many credit cards will charge interest on balance transfers and cash advances beginning on the date of the transaction, regardless of whether the balance is paid in full at the end of the month. Credit cards typically have a credit limit, and if you exceed that limit, you could be charged a fee. Depending on the card, you can get cash from an ATM. However, this is called a “cash advance,” and these typically carry some pretty hefty fees.

What is the difference between “debit” or “credit”?

At checkout, a cashier or card machine might ask you to select “debit” or “credit” even though you are using a debit card.

If you select “debit,” you will enter your PIN to complete the transaction. If you select “credit,” you will sign a receipt. Regardless of whether you select “debit” or “credit,” your purchase will be deducted from your checking account.   

You will not be asked this question when using a credit card.

Browse our checking and credit card options

Looking for a checking account or credit card? BBVA Compass offers a variety of choices so you can find the right account for you.

 

Details you need to make a smart decision

All credit and debit cards are subject to approval, including credit approval.