There are several advantages credit cards offer over cash, including special perks that cash can’t match. But these credit card perks are sometimes overlooked—oftentimes because card members aren’t even aware that their credit cards offer them. Taking advantage of credit card perks and benefits could save you time, money, and maybe even a few hassles. The perks credit cards offer may vary by card and card issuer, but there’s typically no additional charge to take advantage of these benefits—they’re either free or included as part of your credit card’s annual fee.
Here are a few perks you may have at your disposal the next time you make a purchase with your credit card.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
For a fee, car rental companies offer drivers insurance coverage through their rental agreements. The cost for the insurance you elect to carry varies by company and location, and you can waive all coverage options or select one or more of the coverages offered by the rental company.
You may be able to decline some or all of these coverages and rely on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver offered by many credit cards when you use one of these cards to rent a vehicle. This free credit card benefit typically reimburses rental damages due to theft or collision. Depending on your credit card, this coverage will pay up to the value of the rental car and is either primary or secondary, the difference being that, if it’s secondary, it serves as backup insurance. You must first file a claim with your auto insurance company or the rental car agency’s insurance company if you purchased their insurance.
Your credit card’s terms and conditions should detail any coverage limitations. If you’re unsure if your credit card offers this protection—or to what extent—give your credit card issuer a call before renting a car and declining coverage with the car rental agency.
Price Protection Guarantee
Shopping for the best deals can be a hit-and-miss proposition and overly time consuming. But when you use a credit card that offers price protection to pay for your purchases, you can shop with confidence and know that you’re guaranteed the best available price. With this protection, if the item you purchased drops in price within a pre-determined time period, you can receive a refund for the price difference. Again, the terms, conditions, and refund process may vary by the credit card issuer.
Since price protections typically have an expiration date, waiting too long to file a claim could mean missing out on potential savings. Know the details and deadlines before you shop and then keep an eye on sales flyers and ads in the days or weeks following your purchase to stay on top of any price reductions.
While retailers may change their return policies, credit cards that provide return protection can offer you greater flexibility. Using your credit card to make a purchase could extend the retailer’s refund policy, typically 60 - 90 days, which gives you the opportunity to submit a claim if a retailer doesn't accept your return. Just be aware that there may be exclusions and limits under your credit card’s policy. The terms and conditions should be spelled out in your credit card agreement, but if you’re still unsure, give your credit card issuer a call.
An extended warranty can give you financial peace of mind when you make a purchase, especially on big-ticket electronic items like a computer or refrigerator. Many electronics stores will try to sell you an extended warranty at checkout, but if your credit card offers an extended warranty perk, you may be able to get the same or similar protection for free just by making the purchase with that card. A credit card extended warranty typically adds up to a year of coverage and mirrors the original manufacturer’s warranty.
If you pay for your purchases with your credit card, and your card offers purchase protection (sometimes called damage protection), you could be eligible for replacement, repair, or reimbursement for those items if they’re stolen or become accidentally damaged.
If your credit card offers this benefit, the terms and conditions should be spelled out in your credit card agreement. Just be aware that, if your stolen or damaged item is covered under a primary insurance policy, you must file a claim with your insurance company before attempting to use the purchase protection benefit offered by your credit card.
It's easy to forget that you might have purchase protections included with your credit card. Review your credit card benefits guide once a year to stay on top of new perks available to card members. It might reveal that you’ve been paying extra for services already available for free. If that happens, make those purchases with your credit card and take the savings to the bank.
Tracy Scott is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance and higher education. As a contributor for Credit One Bank, she has combined her expertise in these two areas and managing credit to create informative, engaging content for readers. Her reading list always includes a seemingly odd mix of financial literacy articles and sweet romance novels. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and has a background in higher education regulatory compliance.
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