When you consider the cost of holiday shopping, parties, and travel, it’s no wonder why so many people go into debt during this season. The pandemic is sure to change how we celebrate this year, including how much we spend. However, as you consider your holiday budget, keep these benefits and protections you receive from your credit card in mind.
Product Purchase Protections
If you use your credit card for gifts and other purchases, you may be eligible for the benefits below. Just keep in mind that some may only be good for a certain period or only cover qualifying purchases. Check with your card issuer to make sure.
It’s not uncommon for retailers to have longer return periods when the holidays arrive. However, that doesn’t mean everyone does it. Luckily, most credit cards provide return protection, which lets you return a product get a refund when the retailer will not.
If a qualifying product you purchased was damaged, lost, or stolen, you can receive a refund thanks to this important benefit.
Most credit card providers provide extended warranties on qualifying products. This perk covers your purchase for an extra one or two years past the manufacturer’s warranty.
With price protection, you receive a refund if a product’s price falls shortly after you bought it. This benefit is becoming increasingly rare, so check with your provider to see if they offer it.
Do you use your credit card to pay your phone bill each month? You may qualify for cellphone protection, which partially reimburses expenses related to replacing a lost or damaged phone.
Travel Insurance And Benefits
According to Travelocity’s 2020 Holiday Outlook survey, 60% of Americans will refrain from holiday travel this year. But if you are among the 40% planning to travel, make sure you review the benefits your credit card offers.
Rental Car Collisions And Damage Coverage
When you rent a car, you sign a waiver that protects you from rental car theft and damage. However, it doesn’t take you off the hook for incidents involving other peoples’ vehicles, property, or other liability claims. However, coverage might be dependent on your primary car insurance policy, depending on the card issuer. Still, this benefit can help you save a lot compared to buying a policy from the rental company, particularly if you’re going to take a long road trip.
Travel Accident Insurance
This is a benefit no one ever wants to use, but it may help you afford medical costs if you or relatives are killed or seriously injured during your trip.
Trip Cancellation And Interruption Coverage
If you had to call off your trip or stop it prematurely because of an injury, illness, or death, you could receive compensation for nonrefundable expenses. If severe weather interrupts your trip or forces you to cancel it, this benefit could also reimburse you for these costs.
Trip And Baggage Delay Insurance
If you have to pay unexpected costs because of unforeseen delays, this benefit ensures you get reimbursed.
Should You Open A New Credit Card For The Holidays?
Perhaps you currently have a credit card with these benefits and rewards. If you have one, but you aren’t sure, double-check with your credit card issuer. If you don’t have a credit card, or you have one, but it doesn’t offer these perks, you may wonder if the holidays are the right time to open a new account.
If there is another card for specific purchases or travel perks your current card doesn’t have, you could consider investigating. Alternatively, you might want to research cashback credit cards to reward your holiday spending. Just be mindful of any spending requirements that may outweigh the benefits of the card. Make sure you have a budget and a spending strategy in mind to use your credit card more efficiently.
If you believe that you’ll carry a balance for a few months after the holidays, look for a credit card with a 0% APR introductory offer. These types of cards could help you save a significant amount on interest payments.
Compare, Then Apply
If you believe a new credit card could help you right now, or if you want to compare against your existing cards, look at fees, rewards, and benefits. There are many tools online that let you quickly and easily compare offers and find the best one for your needs.
Lastly, make sure you know your credit score before you apply so you know where you stand and your chance of approval. Creditors often perform hard pulls when checking your credit report, which can trim points off your score. To avoid this unnecessary hit to your credit, visit AnnualCreditReport.com to order your credit report for free.
- DeNicola, Louis. “How Your Credit Cards Can Protect Your Holiday Purchases.” Experian, Experian, 11 Nov. 2020, www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-your-credit-cards-can-protect-your-holiday-purchases/.