Once you compare the cost and interest rates of charge cards cards you may be ready to look at the rest of credit card benefits. They fall into several categories: protection, assistance, rewards and savings.
One of the prime protections offered by credit companies is the limit to your liability if your card is stolen. Without that one, charge cards could become too dangerous of a convenience to use. You also are protected should your card be used without your permission. This guarantee is becoming more important as many card transactions are conducted over the phone and thieves are creatively swiping your numbers. You do need to report any unauthorized transaction within a reasonable time frame. Keep checking those statements. Charge cards are convenient but they do require some vigilance.
Protection extends far beyond that though. Credit card benefits can extend the warranty on merchandise you purchase with your credit card. It is not uncommon to receive price protection for a month after you make your purchase in case you should find a lower price. You may also be reimbursed if the item is stolen within a few months of purchase or even if you decide the product does not work for you and the store won’t take it back. Travel insurance benefits can come in handy if your luggage is delayed, damaged or lost and you are just starting your vacation. Most cards offer common carrier accidental death insurance if you paid for the entire fare with your credit card.
Expect assistance around the globe from the major card companies with anything related to your credit card. Many offer extended credit card benefits. These could include making reservations at restaurants and locating event tickets. Higher end cards may grant you access to airport lounges, and help you with travel related needs such as locating a towing service or a physician. Replacing a lost plastic could be the first thing you need if you didn’t bring much cash.
Rewards being offered as credit card benefits are becoming more creative. You can get cash, gas, hotel rooms, air fare, gift cards for retailers, entries into sweepstakes, and your choice of charities to donate your reward points to. How much easier could it be than to donate to a good cause using points you won’t miss? You still get the benefit of feeling good about having contributed. When the earthquake in Haiti hit the banks were quick to set up ways for their customers to donate reward points towards Haiti relief. One bank reported a 850% increase in donations over the previous January.
The number of savings available as credit card benefits is growing too. With business cards you can expect to save on office products, shipping and merchandising services, travel and insurance plans. Personal charge cards offer savings on entertainment items such as theater tickets, special events and rental cars. The amount you can save with the car rental insurance still included with some credit cards is likely to pay for any fee associated with the card.