Hidden credit card perks can save shoppers

Wed Dec 7, 2016 12:17am EST
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By Beth Pinsker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Want to save a few quick bucks on your holiday shopping? Your credit card may offer some little-known perks that could save you money both upfront and after the purchase.

Of the 100 most popular credit cards, 81 offered some kind of extended warranty, according to a study released on Wednesday from Creditcards.com, a card rating website run by Bankrate.com (RATE.N: Quote).

Just over half had purchase security, useful if your item is lost or stolen and the retailer or shipping company does not make good on the loss. Forty-seven cards had price protection, meaning the credit card issuer will match the price if it drops within a certain amount of time, and 26 guaranteed returns even when the merchant does not.

Of the cards studied, 17 offered all four of these protections.

To take advantage, you first have to know what is available on your card. Then you have to jump through the many required hoops.

“These perks can really help in certain circumstances, but most people don’t know that they are there to be taken,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at creditcards.com. He added that the credit card issuers declined to provide usage numbers for his study.

One quick way to check if your card has hearty protections is to look at the bottom right-hand corner, said Sean McQuay, credit card expert at Nerdwallet.com. A Visa card with the “Signature” or “Infinite” tag will likely have the best protections. For MasterCard, look for “World Elite.”

American Express and Discover offer the same protections at all levels, McQuay said.   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) uses a credit card to buy an item at the Shinola watchmakers flagship store in Detroit, Michigan January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst