If you're one to indulge in a spot of credit card abuse from time to time, debit cards are a great alternative, allowing you to spend only the cash you have with the convenience of a Visa or Mastercard. It's a simple way for students to monitor their spending habits and never slip out of credit control.
Student debit card features
Student debit accounts typically enjoy all the facilities of a credit card, including:
- internet shopping, phone purchases
- overseas transactions and withdrawals
- 'credit only' shopping
Plus some student debit card accounts offer:
- line of credit (facility to overdraw to a pre-arranged limit)
- note that overdraw fees may apply - and sting!
- charge back (facility to force a refund from a retailer if goods are, for example, not delivered, or damaged)
- fraud protection for unauthorised transactions
Student debit card reward points
Yes indeedy! Some debit cards offer rewards, same as a student credit card. You'll need to select the 'credit' payment option on EFTPOS to access this feature.
- major retailers are increasingly reluctant to offer these 'credit' payment options, as they get charged fees by Visa and Mastercard
Student debit card providers
You're pretty much looking at two species of student debit card from the old credit giants:
- Visa debit cards
- Mastercard debit cards
Visa and Mastercard offer faintly different small print, but the big differences between student debit cards arrive at the provider level (ie, banks and credit unions). Most financial institutions have a debit card facility attached to their transaction accounts, and it's typically easiest to set up a debit card account with your current provider.
But before you do - check out any fees, and see what the real people think about these bank debit cards.
Student debit card fees
Prepaid debit cards can also save you on fees.
So are student debit cards better than their credit card peers?
- Many debit cards have no ongoing or monthly fees
- Debit cards allow fee-free EFTPOS purchases (simply select 'credit' rather than 'savings')