Let’s be honest, credit cards are great and can make your life a lot easier. They allow you to make purchases without actually having cash in your pocket and they can also give you some breathing room in your budget until the next pay day. Admittedly, credit cards also have some not so great features (such as interest charges) that you need to be aware of. As long as you know how to use credit wisely, there’s no harm in utilizing a credit card to your advantage.
Here are five credit card benefits that you may not know about but should take advantage of -- just be sure to pay your balance off each month:
Big ticket items such as electronics, furniture, and household appliances are expensive and a basic manufacturer’s warranty usually only covers a one year period. Purchasing these items on your credit card allows you to take advantage of credit card benefits such as an additional warranty. It usually adds another year of coverage onto the manufacturer’s warranty at no additional cost. Read the fine print in your credit card agreement to get all the details.
According to Investopedia, this is also commonly known as a chargeback. “If a company doesn’t make good on a product or service you paid for and won’t refund your money, your credit card company might. The credit card company refunds the money to you and then charges the cost to the business.”
This credit card benefit is extremely handy when shopping online. Sites such as eBay and Amazon are great, but if the seller doesn’t send the goods your credit card may offer purchase protection.
Rental Car Insurance
If you’ve ever rented a car you know that the additional insurance can be expensive. Before you pay an extra $20 to $30 dollars a day for collision, theft, and damage insurance, check with your credit card provider to see if they offer rental car insurance. Many credit cards will have you covered as long as you pay for the rental with that particular card.
This is a true story: Last summer I rented a car, went to Best Buy, put my purchases in the back seat then went to lunch. When I came out of the restaurant the back passenger window was broken and my Best Buy bag was gone.
The credit card company completely covered the cost of the rental as well as the repair. They also told me that my purchases would have been replaced if I paid for them with the credit card -- but I didn’t. That day I was extremely glad to have rental car insurance with my credit card.
Access to Airport Lounges and Upgrades
Several travel rewards cards and American Express credit cards often offer exclusive benefits to cardholders such as access to airport lounges as well as free hotel upgrades. Before traveling call your credit card provider to see if they have alliances with travel partners that you can take advantage of.
Travel Medical Insurance
If you’re planning a vacation out of state or out of the country you may not need to purchase additional travel insurance as some credit cards offer this at no additional cost. This can include access to the best doctors, no fee hospital visits as well as reimbursement for any medical bills. Contact your credit card provider for the details, but the good news is you may be fully or partially covered while traveling abroad.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today
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