All too often what we hear about credit cards is the bad stuff. There is definitely a lot of risk involved when using credit cards. It is easy to get into credit card debt and tough to get out of it. However, if you can be responsible with the use of your credit cards (including engaging in prompt debt repayment) then the right credit card for you can be better for you than cash or debit card payments. That’s because credit cards often offer consumer protections that you don’t get when choosing other payment methods.
Take a look at the following 15 consumer protections that you might automatically get just by using your credit card to make a purchase. (Note that these protections vary from card to card and you’ll have to read the fine print on each credit card to see if you are protected.)
1. Extended Warranty Protection. If you purchase an item that has a manufacturer warranty then the warranty period may be automatically extended to a longer period when bought using a credit card.
3. Fraud Protection. Many credit cards come with fraud protection. If purchases are made on the card by someone who has stolen the card or your identity then you may not need to pay for those purchases.
4. Hotel Theft Insurance. If you pay for your hotel room with a credit card and an item is stolen from your hotel room then reimbursement may be available through the credit card company.
5. Loss Damage Insurance for Rental Cars. If you rent a car using a credit card then you may not need to pay for additional car rental insurance because the card may offer this as a protection.
6. Lost Luggage Protection. You go on a vacation and your baggage is lost. If you paid for your tickets with a credit card then you may be protected against this loss. This may cover both checked baggage and carry-on luggage and may also protect the items within the luggage if they are stolen.
7. Medical Prescription Replacement. If you go on a trip and lose or forget your medication then you may need help getting a new prescription at your destination. This helps to cover the cost of that additional prescription service.
8. Product Price Protection. Have you ever bought an item only to find out that it went on sale for a lower price a few days later? Product price protection on your credit card eliminates this problem. It means that the credit card issuer will refund the price difference on the item if the price goes lower within a certain time period after purchase. There are a lot of exceptions to this protection but it can save you money when you do get to use it.
9. Product Purchase Protection. If you get an item that is accidentally damaged in a short amount of time after purchase then you may be able to get it repaired or replaced at no charge.
10. Roadside Assistance. Many credit cards come with roadside assistance. This provides you with help for flat tires, running out of gas, etc.. This may apply to your own car or to rental cars depending on the policy.
11. Roadside Dispatch. This is supplemental to the Roadside Assistance protection and covers such thing as the dispatch of emergency services for towing and locksmith help.
12. Trip Cancellation Protection. If you go on a vacation and the trip has to be shortened or canceled for specific reasons outlined in your credit card policy then you may be able to get financial reimbursement from the credit card company.
13. Trip Delay Protection. If you go on a trip that gets delayed for more than twelve hours then you are likely to incur additional trip fees such as an extra hotel payment or food costs. Some credit cards offer trip delay protection specifically to cover these circumstances.
14. Trip Protection for Baggage Delays. In some cases when you travel your luggage doesn’t make it to the destination as quickly as you do. If you experience a significant delay in the arrival of your luggage then you may need to purchase items such as clothing and toiletries. This credit card consumer protection reimburses you for those things.
15. Trip Ticket Replacement. You have purchased a ticket and then lost it. This is a consumer protection that facilitates getting you a new ticket. The cost isn’t covered but the process is reportedly made simpler with this service.