Not only is lending market becoming more flexible, but the entire financial market is becoming more competitive. With so many different companies, banks and lenders, the necessity to find a way to attract more customers has become a norm for everyone in the business.
Among others, credit card companies are always looking for new ways to attract new customers. They do this by offering lower interest rates and APRs, various rewards and bonuses, and so on.
One of the benefits that credit cards give you is the price protection feature. Even though it can come in handy in many situations, people don’t use it enough. And with the recent removal and decrease of these benefits, the question remains for how long we will be able to use them.
One thing is for sure ‒ if you have never used price protection, read this article to find out how you can do it most effectively.
What Is Credit Card Price Protection?
Credit card companies are known for offering a number of benefits to cardholders. Price protection is one of the less well-known benefits that can turn you into a real shopping machine.
In a nutshell, credit card price protection refunds you the difference in price between the item that you bought and the same item with a lower price. However, there is a catch. To use this benefit, you have to find the same item (same manufacturer and model) within a certain time period.
Therefore, bear in mind that, unlike other benefits (extended warranty coverage, purchase protection, etc.), price protection is not automatic. It depends on many factors, including your credit card company, the item you bought, the time that has passed since you bought it, and so on.
In other words, this feature makes you work in order to use it. So, it is questionable whether you should actively use it in terms of going around looking for the same item as the one you bought some time ago.
How Does It Work?
If you want to use this benefit, there are certain steps that you need to follow in order to comply with your credit card issuer’s regulations.
For the majority of credit cards, you have to track prices yourself in order to find a lower price before you submit the claim. Once you find it, you need to get a price protection claim form by calling your card company’s customer service. When you receive the form, fill it in and attach the requested documentation. This is what you will generally need:
- A copy of an online or printed ad showing the product with the same manufacturer and model number as the one you bought. The copy also has to include the lower price and the date, as well as the retailer’s name or website;
- An original itemized receipt which shows the item that you purchased;
- A credit card receipt that shows that you made the purchase with that card;
- A monthly billing statement showing when the purchase was made.
When you have gathered all the documentation, mail it together with the form to the address written on the benefit claim or the one that you got from the customer service. Depending on the card issuer, you might be able to fill out the claim online and upload the necessary documents.
A lot of things to attach and it may seem like a big hassle, but eventually, it can be worth it depending on the product you bought.
It is important to note that products eligible for this benefit vary depending on the card and the issuer. Still, there are some general rules that you should know.
The first and most important thing is that your card has to offer purchase protection in order for you to use it. Not all cards or companies offer this benefit, so make sure you double-check before you actually start the entire process.
Here are some products that are NOT eligible for price protection:
- Cars, boats, aircraft, other vehicles and their original equipment (with the exception of tires)
- Medications, food, drinks and gas
- Gems, precious stones, pearls and other jewelry (with the exception of watches)
- Tickets for concerts, shows, sporting events and flights
- Animals and plants, including mounted and stuffed ones
- Installation, labor, tech support, maintenance/repair, counseling/advice and other professional services
- Customized, refurbished or second-hand items
- Items that were purchased for rental, resale, commercial or professional use
- Any currencies, such as coins, precious metals or traveler’s checks
These are the most common items ineligible for price protection. However, you should check your benefits guide for possible additional restrictions.
Also, you should note that even if the item is eligible, its sales tax, shipping and handling aren’t covered by the price protection feature.
Moreover, it is very important to know the price limit that your card will cover. Of course, this varies from card to card, but it is safe to say that most cards cover up to $500. This means that if you find the eligible item that is cheaper than the one you bought, the card will cover the difference of up to $500. However, some cards will cover up to $250 difference and some only $50. In addition, there is a limit for either the total annual refund or the number of claims that you can make in a year.
Finally, price protection is only eligible for a certain time period after the original purchase. Some cards have a 60-day period, while some have a 90-day or even a 120-day period. Also, there may be a limit on how much time you can wait to file a claim after seeing the lower price.
Therefore, you should equip yourself with a lot of information before actually deciding to file that form.
Is Credit Card Price Protection Nearing Its End?
With the emergence of price-tracking apps, an increasing number of people started filing refund forms. This led to credit card companies having to pay out more money to their customers and practically losing money.
Therefore, several companies decided to remove or decrease the price protection feature they offer. These companies include Chase and Citi and this decision pertains to some of the cards and price protection features they offer. However, we have yet to see whether the rest of credit card companies will follow in the same footsteps.
For the time being, Capital One, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Barclays and US Bancorp still offer a number of great credit cards with price protection.
If you are a fan of price protection, take a quick look at our tips on how to use this feature while It still lasts.
- Use it for big purchases
According to some experts, it is best to use price protection for appliances and furniture. The more a product costs, the more you will save on it, at least in theory. In addition, if your card has a limited number of price protection purchases per year, it is wise to use them for big things. Finally, it is ridiculous to do a lot of legwork to save just $10, right?
- Read the fine print carefully
It is crucial to understand all terms and conditions of your credit card price protection before you make a purchase. Therefore, make sure you read the fine print and pay special attention to exclusions, deadlines and claim limits.
- Collect all documentation
This step is very important. You need to understand that credit card issuers will give you a refund only if they have to ‒ that is, if you have all the necessary evidence. So, before you file the claim, ensure that you have all the documents.
- Don’t buy just to get a refund
Now, this may sound too obvious to be mentioned but you would be surprised if you knew how many people buy products they don’t actually need just so that you get a refund. So, the refund should come as a consequence of your purchase, not the main reason for it.
Is credit card price protection about to be canceled by all card issuers? We don’t know, but the fact that two of the biggest issuers have already removed or decreased this feature on some cards says a lot.
What you can do while this feature still exists is to use it wisely in order to make some extra cash. To do this, there are some steps that you need to follow, like informing yourself about your credit card’s features and eligible products, filing a claim, collecting and attaching the documents and, finally, sending them to the card issuer.
If you really want to save some money, make sure you use this feature for big purchases such as household appliances and furniture. This will enable you to save a much bigger amount of money on a single purchase.