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Credit Cards: the Hidden Perks

Have you ever sat and read all the small printed paperwork that comes when you apply for a credit card? Did you take the time to understand all the ins and outs of your particular card? If you answered no to these two questions then you are probably not utilizing all the perks that your credit card has to offer. In fact, it is quite possible that you are wasting money as well.

Many credit cards offer different types of protection and perks for just having the card. The kicker is that the credit card companies don't go around advertising these things. This means that the average Jack or Jill is not really aware of everything that the credit card can do for them. In fact, many people pay extra money on top of a purchase for things like protection or extended warranties. This is because they really are not aware that their credit card might have coverage for these types of things.

Let's say for example that you make an internet purchase and have it shipped to your home. Somewhere during the time it was shipped the item was damaged. Now the company doesn't want to reimburse you for the cost of the item or send you another one. You are just prepared to write it off.... Don't. Take the time to check with your credit card company to see if your card has the extra perk of reimbursing you for the cost of your damaged item. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, every purchase made with a credit card is required to have certain protections. Contact your credit card company, explain the situation to them by letting them know that you received damaged goods and the company is not willing to rectify the problem. A lot of credit card companies will quickly reimburse what you paid. (Keep in mind however that there is a limit on the time you have to report it to the company).

Many credit card companies will offer extended warranties when you purchase something using your credit card. The company will extend the manufacturer's warranty for one additional year. The warranty coverage is exactly the same as the manufacturers but it is completely free of charge to you. The only thing that you have to make sure that you do is to complete the mail in registration card and send it into the manufacturer and that you have a credit card receipt showing that you paid for the item. Why should you pay for something that you are already getting for free!

Another perk that many credit cards offer are things like offering full refunds for items that you tried to return without a receipt or missed the deadline on the return. You must be able to prove to the credit card company that the store you made the purchase from has declined your return request. This is done by proving that you made the purchase with your card and getting a statement from the store that declined your return request. By sending this into your credit card you can potentially get a full refund for the item that you were unable to return to the retailer.

Along the same lines as the refund policy, many credit cards will also offer price protection. This is when you make a purchase with your card and then a few days later find it cheaper at another store. You will have to present your credit card company with the original receipt as well as proof of the sale price. Once you do this, many credit card companies will reimburse you the difference in the price. Keep in mind that you have 60 days from the original purchase to get the price match policy.

Above and beyond these perks many credit cards offer other things that we as consumers really fail to realize. For example, many credit card companies offer point systems when you make purchases with your card. You can then utilize these points to purchase something from a special credit card site. These things can include gift cards to local restaurants, airline tickets, electronics and many other items. Many people fail to realize that they actually are earning points by using their card. You would be surprised by how quickly the points add up and the things that you can redeem them for.

Finally, most credit cards offer other options that we really don't think that they would. For example, if you pay for a trip, airline tickets etc with a credit card, many times you will not need to purchase any travel insurance. Your credit card will have a policy about cancelled trips. Same goes with rental cars. If you pay for your rental car with a credit card, nine times out of ten, your credit card will also have free rental insurance.

Take the time to explore all the options that your credit cards have to offer. You should not have to pay extra for things that your credit cards already cover. Next time you get that paperwork with the fine print, take the time to read it completely so that you know what perks your credit cards come with.

Julianne Alzamora has 7 years of experience as a freelance writer. Her articles can be seen in several financial websites about investing, investment strategy, personal finance and topics on real estate.

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