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Let's start with some basic definitions:
Credit Cards allow you to take out short term loans to finance every-day purchases. These loans are available up to a certain amount - your "credit limit." They're fast, convenient, and secure. At the end of the month, you can pay for the cumulative amount of the loan (your balance) or you'll be charged interest on the outstanding amount. Interest rates on credit cards are typically substantially higher than other loans. The card issuer may be a credit card company, a bank, or a private company working with a credit card company.
There are only four major credit card networks:
Debit cards, by comparison, are issued exclusively by banks and credit unions (learn the difference between banks and credit unions here). They're like having an instant checkbook in your wallet. The money you spend on a debit card is instantly transferred out of your bank account to the vendor's bank account. That means that rather than hitting a spending limit as you do on a credit card, you can run out of money available to you on a debit card by running out of money in the bank account that's tied to the card.
Whereas debit cards are usually offered free with a checking, savings, or money market account, credit cards often have an annual fee associated with them. This annual fee is in addition to any interest you accumulate in the course of carrying a balance on your credit card.
The last big difference between a debit card and a credit card is that credit cards typically offer their card holders some perks or rewards for being a member. Those perks can be anything from travel upgrades to concierge services. It depends on the card, your financial standing as a card holder, and the card network as to what perks you'll get. These perks are paid for via both the interest that's generated off of cardholders who carry a balance, as well as the annual fee on the card.
Should I get a debit card or a credit card?
Debit cards are broadly seen as a better place for young people to start, since they don't allow you to go into debt and will force you to adopt responsible spending habits (or run out of money). The first time you have a card in your wallet, it becomes very easy to spend money. An all too common problem for first time credit card holders is spending more money than they can pay back at the end of the month, and having to carry a balance on the card. These balances are charged a high rate of interest, which can be debilitating for those in a precarious financial situation.
However, debit cards don't allow you to build credit history, which can also be problematic for young people. Having a credit history is important when very large purchases become necessary - like cars and houses. The size of these items usually requires taking on a loan and banks want to see some experience with paying loans back regularly before they'll entrust you with a large amount of money. A credit card helps establish that understanding of debt, and therefore a credit history.
There are many good first time credit cards than can help young people and those without credit history understand how to use debt.
The bottom line is that you should probably start with a credit card, learn how to use it, and then get a beginners credit card to start establishing credit history. Make sure you find one that fits your lifestyle, there are hundreds of options.