10 Secret Benefits of Credit Cards That You Need to Know About
You already know that credit cards can help you make purchases when you’re low on cash. You may even be savvy enough to take advantage of perks like rewards and cash-back offers. But did you know that many credit cards offer bonuses ranging from travel insurance to VIP access to clubs and events? Often tucked away in the fine print of your card issuer’s disclosure statement, these little-known credit card benefits can help you save big whether you’re shopping, traveling, or just grabbing a bite to eat.
Every credit card is different, so be sure to review your product program guide or chat with a customer service representative to be sure that you fully understand the benefits of your membership. And when shopping around for a new credit card, look for the little extras like these that will help maximize every dollar you spend.
- They can insure your rental car. Many credit cards, like Chase Freedom Unlimited®, offer complimentary rental car insurance to their customers, allowing you to opt out of rental car companies’ expensive insurance offerings. Most cover collision damage and theft protection, but not personal injury or liability. Check with your provider as well as your auto insurance company to confirm exactly what’s covered when you’re renting a car.
- They can save you money when traveling abroad. Many travelers have learned the hard way that using a credit card in another country can result in foreign transaction fees tacked on to every purchase — and they add up quickly. That is, unless you have a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of using a credit card on vacation without worrying about hefty fees.
- They can help you get the best deal out there. Have you ever bought something and then seen it cheaper somewhere else? It’s easy to shrug it off with a minor purchase, but more expensive investments can make you cringe. But if you bought the item with a card that offers price protection, you may still be able to get the savings even beyond the store’s return window. It works like this: If you find the item listed through another retailer at a lower price, your card issuer will refund the difference (as long as it’s within their own specified timeframe).
- They can protect you from common travel hiccups. Bad weather, travel delays, and illness are just a few things that can throw planned travels for a loop. If you purchase your tickets and accommodations with the right card, you could be protected for everything from trip cancellations and delays to lost or stolen luggage. Some cards also offer travel and emergency assistance services.
- They can make your layovers more enjoyable. If you spend a lot of time in the airports, look for cards that offer free access to airport lounges. Even if you’re not a business- or first-class traveler, your card may grant you entry to a comfy airport lounge with plentiful seating, strong Wi-Fi, snacks, and occasionally even perks like free massages.
- They can extend your warranties for big purchases. Forget paying more at the store for an extended warranty on a big purchase like a TV or laptop — your credit card may offer all the protection you need. If your policy includes extended warranty protection, you may be covered beyond the manufacturer’s limited warranty if you need to return or replace your purchase.
- They can repair or replace lost, damaged, or stolen items.Purchase protection is a common credit card bonus that will help you get a refund or repair for lost, damaged, or stolen purchases. Check your policy for time limits and exclusions.
- They can protect your cell phone. Many of us feel like we couldn’t survive without our smartphones, which is why it’s not a bad idea to insure them against theft, loss, or damage. Some credit cards automatically include cell phone insurance to cover you if something happens to your phone.
- They can help you keep tabs on your credit score. Many cards offer easy online access to your FICO credit score so you can always be aware of your financial standing — and immediately be aware of any issues that may impact your score.
- They can keep you safe on the road. Check your credit card policy before purchasing roadside assistance — it may already be included as part of your card membership. Read the fine print to see if the card actually covers the cost of services or if you’re just getting a tow truck referral.