Hidden Credit Card Perks That Consumers May Be Unaware of

By Jessica Williams

When it comes to credit cards, we as consumers have been told time and time again to read the fine print. Of course this was created to insure that the credit card lender is protected at all times, however credit card terms and agreements are not always out to get you. A lot of the times, this fine print can contain hidden perks including rental car collision insurance, concierge services, cash, and many other surprises.

Credit card companies are beginning to make credit card benefits more accessible, rather than making consumers sift through a credit cards terms and conditions to determine the perks that their credit card lender is offering its consumers.

Guaranteed Returns

If you are experiencing buyer’s remorse but it is too late to return your purchased item to its original store, some card lenders will offer to refund your purchase. Card issuers create their own caps, for example, Discover cardholders get back $500 per item while Visa cardholders only get back $250. The only catch is the item that you are seeking reimbursement for cannot be broken. You will also be responsible for making sure you have the original packaging and purchase receipt.

Cell Phone Replacement Insurance

The idea is if your cell phone becomes damaged or gets stolen, your credit card will automatically buy you a new one. Some cardholders will pay up to $250 for a new device. On some credit cards, there may be a required $50 co-pay needed to process your replacement phone order. Most cardholders require you to pay your monthly cellphone bill with their issued credit card and file the needed paperwork to prove that the phone is gone.

Trip Cancellation Coverage

Even though only 15% of cards offer travel cancellation insurance, this coverage does reimburse you the costs associated with nonrefundable flights if an emergency or illness derails your travels. Also a hand-full of credit cards offer protection against trip delays as well. For example, on Discover you can get back up to $2500 if an illness forces you to cancel your trip and $125 per day if your trip is delayed. American Express gives its cardholders up to $250 to cover their meals and hotels while they are stranded in a snow storm.

Price Protections

If you use your credit card to make a purchase, then find the same thing advertised at a lower price somewhere else within 30 to 60 days of your purchase, then your credit card company will refund you the money. Most credit card lenders offer have a list of excluded items such as cars and cell phones. All you will have to do is provide the ad proving the lower advertised price on the item you purchased. Keep in mind that some cards do exclude online sales, seasonal sales, close-outs, and eBay purchases.

Roadside Assistance

If your car breaks down for any reason, with most carriers, all you have to do is call your credit card’s customer service line and a representative will arrange for a tow truck and other emergency services to come to you. Services that are normally included are jump-starts, locksmith services, and tire changes.

First Jump at Concert Tickets

Some care issuers offer presale and preferred “hard-to-get” concert and sporting event tickets. For example, Citi launched their Private pass feature which allowed cardholders to purchase concert tickets for $5 each. The only issue with this feature is the specials are normally offered through a third party like Ticketmaster. So you have to pay attention. Also the only perk at times is just the opportunity to purchase tickets before anyone else can, not necessarily discounts on purchases.

Jessica Williams is Consolidated Credit’s Marketing Communications New Media Coordinator. As a member of the education team, Jessica focuses on helping consumers make better financial decisions while living debt-free. She has previously worked with Take Stock In Children, where she was a mentor and communications specialist, and SouthPromo.com, where she managed community relations, event planning, marketing, and public relations. Jessica attended both the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida where she received her B.S. in Interpersonal/Organizational Communications and Marketing. Connect with Jessica on Google+.