When to use Debit vs Credit Card for shopping or dining

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

Today most people have both credit and debit cards and more often than not users tend to make use of credit cards instead of debit cards. While it is fair and obvious, but then there are instances where it makes much more sense to use debit card instead of credit card, especially when you have credit and debit cards issued by different banks. Let us work through this in detail.

Base Understanding: Today banks offer discounts on shopping , dining, electronics and other categories. Most times, these discounts are applicable to both credit as well as debit cards issued by those banks. Offers on shops or restaurants tend to vary from banks to bank.

Important Note: The irony is that many people are unaware of these deals on their credit AND debit cards. RUSSH mobile app ( solves this problem by enabling you to find the most relevant deals available on all credit AND debit card at finger tips. You can look for deals that are closest to your current location or at a destination of your choice on a Google Map view, making it easy to find the deals most relevant to you.

Common Scenario: You have a credit card from Bank A (say ICICI bank) and have a debit card from Bank B (say HDFC bank). You go shopping or for dining and generate a bill of Rs.5000. That specific shop or restaurant has 15% off for all cards issued by HDFC bank (debit or credit) and no discount on ICICI bank.

Now you don’t have a HDFC credit card and more often than not you ignore the offer (as you are now aware of the power of your debit card) and pay the bill using your ICICI credit card (telling yourself that the credit card will give me 45 days to repay and I will earn interest and credit card points and so it is a better deal). Is this a wise payment option assuming you can afford to pay 5000 INR on spot? Let us check, as numbers never lie.

Option 1: Pay Shopping/Dining Bill via Credit Card which offers no discount on that specific bill.

Restaurant or Shopping Bill: 5000 INR Date of payment via Credit Card (best case scenario) : Day 1 of the billing cycle interest-free credit period* (best case scenario) : 45 days (*interest-free credit period = period between the billing date and the payment due date) You keep 5000 INR in FD for 45 days with 8% interest Interest Earned: 49.50 INR Income Tax on Interest (30% bracket): 14.85 INR Total Gain: 34.65INR

Option 2: Pay Shopping/Dining Bill via Debit Card that offers 15% discount on that bill.

Restaurant or Shopping Bill: 5000 INR Discount offer on the Debit Card by the Bank : 15% Total Gain/Saving : 750 INR

Clearly in this case paying by Option 2 (debit card from a bank that offers a deal) is much better and gives 22 times more saving than Option 1 (credit card from another bank which that has no deal).

In addition, the amount saved in Option 2 is much higher than the credit card points that you will receive on your credit card for 5000 INR (which is usually 1 point for every Rs.50–100 spent, giving you about 50–100 points in this case). Hence even after adding the credit card points, you save much more if you adopted option 2. And if that bank offers points even for debit card payments (which many of the leading banks do) then even the points discussion on credit card gets nullified.

In another scenario a debit card is offering 15% and a credit card is offering 10% on the same store. Even in such cases numbers show that payment via debit card will be beneficial if you can afford to pay the bill instantly.

Conclusion: It is vital to understand when to pay using debit cards and when to pay using credit cards based on the offers provided by different banks. And this isn’t easy today because all the available offers are not at your fingertips. Hence, the decision to use a card is usually based on a hunch, rather than an informed decision. That’s exactly where RUSSH comes in and helps you make the best of the cards available with you.

Paying by debit cards can be more beneficial if there are discount offers on those debit cards by the banks (which is usually the case) , rather than paying via credit card where there is no offer. To find out which banks have offers on which stores/restaurants on debit and credit cards download RUSSH and check out now (

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