For the most part, many people are already fully aware of all the benefits a credit card has to offer. There’s the convenience of not having to carry cash and the convenience of not having to pay for your purchases until the end of the month. When used correctly, credit cards can be a great addition to your daily life.
However, recently Iíve come to find that there are also a lot of other benefits to using credit cards that you may not be aware of. Some of these benefits have been active since credit cards have been around, but others were added recently because of increased competition in the market.
And when I’m speaking about these other benefits, I’m not referring to things like being able to choose your favorite color for your card or choosing your due date for your statement. While these are valid perks in their own right, what I’m talking about are true and real benefits that can save you significant amounts of money in a lot of different situations. Here are some of the more important ones that I found.
Having the option to dispute a purchase on a credit card is a very powerful tool. And as far as I know, just about every credit card out there carries with it some sort of dispute process. Have you ever felt that you got “taken” by a retailer or some other company, and just felt that you had nowhere to go? Well, in most cases, you can dispute these charges with your credit card provider. I was a little reluctant at first to even try this out, but I was incredibly surprised. The people I dealt with were helpful and on my side from the beginning, working hard for a solution to my problem. Over the years, I’ve disputed several things on different cards and never lost a single one. I’ve saved a ton of money because of the dispute rights on credit cards. One of my favorites is the Citi Platinum Select credit card and I’ve had good success with it.
Once I really started digging into the fine print, I also found that a few credit cards carry protection against theft. This could potentially be huge if you ever have “smaller” items stolen from you. I had always thought that if my GPS was ever stolen out of my car, or some other small item from my house, using my auto or homeownerís insurance just wouldnít make sense. I would simply be out of luck. But now I know there is another option out there – my credit card!
This is another “biggie” and should really factor into decisions you make regarding some of your purchases. Most credit cards will extend the manufacturerís warranty on items that you buy, usually electronics and appliances. Keep this in mind the next time you’re pressured to purchase one of those so-called Product Protection Plans from a retailer. You could be paying extra for coverage that you already have and you should never buy an extended warranty for most items anyway.
Many of the lesser-known benefits of a lot of credit cards out there are related to travel. There are so many different benefits to list that I can’t really comment on all of them. Keep in mind that your credit card probably carries some or all of the added benefits listed below:
- Delayed baggage coverage
- Trip cancellation insurance (great for non-refundable tickets!)
- Extra life insurance on air fares
- Additional (or free) rental car insurance
- General travel upgrades
The general travel upgrades could be anything from better hotel rooms to additional concierge services and just about anything else you can think of. Some hotels will really go the extra mile for guests that use particular credit cards.
These benefits are all great and can really come in handy. However, they’re useless to you if you don’t even know that they exist. Does your credit card carry every benefit listed above? Probably not. But I bet it has a lot of them and maybe even a few that I haven’t listed here. Take a closer looks at the fine print on your current credit cards, or call up your provider and ask them for a complete explanation of all of your benefits.
Keep a list of the benefits if you have to and when the time arises, utilize them – especially those dispute rights. You do pay for them in some way, shape, or form even if the cost doesn’t show up on your monthly statement. You might as well take full advantage of all of them. Also, keep in mind that benefits aren’t everything. You still need to watch out for credit card fees (which sometimes outweigh the benefits) and take into consideration a variety of different factors when choosing a credit card.
Do a little research on the credit cards that you frequently use. Did you discover any additional perks and benefits that you didn’t know about?
David Bakke is an experienced credit card user and a blogger for the Money Crashers personal finance blog. He writes about financial topics like savings money, budgeting, credit and debt, and generating income.