5 credit card benefits you probably have but don’t know about

Here are five little-known credit card benefits that may already be in your pocket. (iStock)

Beyond giving you the ability to finance purchases, most credit cards come with a whole host of other benefits. Unfortunately, many consumers don’t fully understand the benefits being offered, which can cause them to leave value behind. With that in mind, below is an explanation of five common credit card benefits. Read them over so that you can get a better idea of what might be available to you, courtesy of your credit card issuer.

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Extended warranty protection

The first and most widely available benefit is extended warranty protection. This benefit matches and extends the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible purchases, Essentially, the extended warranty from your credit card issuer will take the place of the manufacturer’s warranty once it ends and matches its terms for a set period of time.

If you do have to make a claim under extended warranty protection, be aware that every issuer’s warranty comes with its own terms and conditions of which you should make yourself aware. In general, these warranties come with a deductible that you will have to pay before any fixes are made and you must have purchased the item with that particular credit card in order for it to be deemed eligible for protection coverage.

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Return protection

These days, not all credit card issuers offer return protection. However, if you can find an issuer who offers it, this reward can certainly help you save. As the name suggests, it has to do with extending the return timeframe on eligible purchases. In some cases, this protection will also help you receive reimbursement for the item you no longer want, even if returns are not allowed by the retailer.

Again, each credit card issuer will have its own set of guidelines surrounding this benefit, typically you will be asked to provide proof that the item you’re returning was purchased with the card in question. Additionally, there may be specific limits on how much the credit card company is willing to reimburse you for each purchase and during the calendar year.

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Purchase protection

While the phrase “purchase protection” may sound similar to some benefits that have already been covered, it pertains to helping you replace items that may have been stolen, damaged, or lost during the delivery process. In some instances, your credit card issuer will work with the retailer to have another delivery sent to you. In others, they will simply reimburse you for the item that was affected in transit.

Like the other benefits on this list, you will need to file a claim with your credit card issuer in order to access this form of liability protection. However, you may also have to provide additional paperwork, such as proof that you purchased the item using their card and photographs showing any damage to the item.

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Cell phone protection

Cell phone protection, also known as cell phone insurance, is another widely-offered benefit among credit card issuers. As you might be able to guess, this benefit can be put toward helping you purchase a new phone in the event that yours is damaged or stolen. It can often lower your final bill by hundreds of dollars, which makes it a particularly valuable perk to have at your disposal.

In order to access this benefit, you typically have to have a history of paying your monthly cell phone bill on the credit card. In some cases, you may have to provide proof that you are current with your payments. Depending on your card issuer, you may also be subject to certain limits on the amount of reimbursement that you are eligible to receive per each claim or in total during a particular calendar year.

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Price protection

Lastly, there is price protection. Under the price protection benefit, your credit card issuer agrees to issue you a refund for the difference in price if an item that you recently purchased is advertised at a lower price point.

Typically, the way it works is that you’ll submit a claim along with your receipt for the purchase. Then, the issuer scans the internet looking for the advertised price of the item. If a difference is found between what you paid and what’s being advertised, you’ll receive a statement credit or a check in the mail for the difference within a few business days.

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The bottom line

While none of these credit card benefits should be the main reason behind your choice to open a particular card, it’s important to know that they do exist. When you’re shopping around for a new card, you should evaluate the offered benefits along with its interest rate, fee structure, and any advertised promotions like 0% APR or no-fee balance transfers.

Additionally, be aware that these perks are usually offered to those customers who have a decent credit history and a good or excellent credit score. It’s most common to see these benefits offered on cards that come with annual fees, so it’s important to make sure that any benefits you receive from the car will outweigh that cost.