How do you choose your credit cards? Most of us probably do it based on the rewards offered. If we are going to charge stuff on your credit cards why not get something in return – whether it’s cash back, points or travel miles. You may also check the APR to make sure you’re getting a decent interest rate and if you’re really careful with your cards you read their Terms and Conditions so you’ll know all about late and over limit fees. What you might not be checking out are those little hidden perks or features that could save you some serious money and time.
You may be surprised
There are all types and manner of credit card features. But if you’re typical you don’t even know that they‘re there. But if you make the effort to look at the perks offered by your cards you will probably be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Most cards offer many or all of the perks described in this article. If you carry multiple cards you might want to make a simple spreadsheet so you can compare their hidden perks, as this might teach you which card to use and when.
Whenever you buy some new electronic gadget the odds are that the sales clerk will try to talk you into buying an extended warranty. But you don’t have to hand over the cash. The chances are you already have that extra protection but you don’t know about it. Many credit cards will extend warranties after the manufacturer’s warranty expires – usually for up to a year. So, if that new 50-inch flat screen HDTV dies the day after the manufacturer’s warranty ends, you’re probably still covered.
Doesn’t it just bum you out when you buy something and discover the next week that its price has dropped dramatically? Fortunately, your credit card may be able to ease your pain. Some of them come with what’s called price protection. The way this works is that if you learn the price of something you bought with that card has fallen (within a certain timeframe), you might be able get a refund of the difference. The timeframe is pretty generous, too, as it’s generally 60 to 90 days. However, you need to read the fine print as your card might have some exclusions such as cars, jewelry, Internet purchases, personal items and antiques. In addition, you will need to file a claim and be able to submit copies of the original merchant’s receipt as well as an ad that shows the item you bought is now selling at the lower price.
The ride-sharing company Uber is really hot right now and some credit cards offer rides or discounts ordered through the company’s car service app. According to one expert the best deal right now is Capital One’s Quicksilver Rewards card, which gives users a 20% statement credit when they use the card to pay for Uber rides. This deal is available only through April 30, 2016 so it’s one you need to jump on during the next year. The second best card in this class is said to be the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card. When you use this card for Uber rides, you earn extra Starwood points when staying at a SPG property such as Le Meridian, Westin and Sheraton hotels.
Reimbursement for lost luggage
Is there anything much worse than arriving at your destination only to find that your luggage didn’t? While no credit card can replace that lost luggage some help make this a bit easier to handle by reimbursing you if your checked or carry-on luggage is lost or stolen. As an example of this, the Visa Signature card offers reimbursement for up to $3000 per trip if your luggage is stolen or lost due to misdirection by the carrier. Of course, you must have purchased your airline ticket with the card.
No fees for foreign transactions
Will you be traveling abroad anytime soon? Then you need to check to see if your credit card charges transaction fees. These are generally fees made on purchases in a foreign currency. These fees are typically an extra 3% on top of the price of whatever you’re buying. Even though 3% may not seem like much it can add up quickly over the course of a two- or three- week trip. However, some credit cards waive these fees. If your card doesn’t offer this perk and you will be traveling outside the U.S., consider getting a rewards card that has no foreign transaction fees such as the VentureOne card from Capital One or the Discover It card from Discover.
You may know that you’re entitled to your credit reports free from each of the three credit reporting bureaus every 12 months. What you may not know is that those credit reports will not include your credit score. So, you may have to spend money in order to see yours. For example, your FICO score, which is the one most commonly used by lenders, will cost you $20. But fortunately, some of the credit card issuers now offer their cardholders their credit scores free on a regular basis so you could keep track of your score without having to spend a single cent. Knowing your credit score is incredibly important because it shows potential lenders, employers, landlords and insurance providers that you’re fiscally responsible – assuming, of course, that you are fiscally responsible.
You just bought a new smart phone, you’re in hock to the cell phone provider for nearly $600 and splash! There it went into a puddle of water. Maybe you just dropped it on the driveway and it sort of exploded. Or you left it on that restaurant table and it’s been stolen. Regardless of what happened, your credit card might be able to rescue you. Many of them offer purchase protection, which is also sometimes called “purchase security.” What this means is that if something you bought with the card gets stolen or damaged you might be able to get reimbursed, have it repaired or get a replacement. The maximum offered by cards that come with purchase protection is generally $500 if the item is damaged or stolen. Unfortunately, this has to be within 90 days of when you bought the item. If your card does come with purchase protection be sure once again to read the fine print to see if there are any exclusions.