JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you have a credit card, you likely already know about the cash back rewards or travel points. But you may be missing out on a bunch of other free stuff too. News4Jax turned to Consumer Reports to find out about those hidden perks buried in the fine print.
Price protection perk
Yes, there's a credit card perk for deal seekers who get frustrated when they purchase an item at one price, but find the price has dropped a few weeks later. Consumer Reports told us even if you've already removed the tags and it's past the store's deadline for returns, you may be able to get the savings if you used a card with price protection.
Taking advantage of this benefit requires a bit of follow-up, but for big-ticket items it could be worth the effort. Some banks will cap the refund at $250 to $500 per item, with a total annual limit as well.
One example of a credit card with price protection is the Citi Double Cash card.
Cellphone replacement perk
Did your cellphone get damaged or stolen? You may not know your credit card could cover the cost of a new one. However, for that insurance, you need to pay your monthly cellphone bill with a qualifying credit card. And if it's theft, you will have to file a police report or other paperwork to prove your phone is gone, because if you simply lost it, you won't be covered.
Consumer Reports said Wells Fargo, for example, offers this benefit with many of its credit cards.
Purchase security perk
Another little-known benefit offered by many credit cards is purchase security. If you have this, your credit card company will repair or reimburse items that have been damaged, lost, or stolen. This could be useful to you if you tend to be clumsy or forgetful.
The purchase security benefit is usually limited to items bought within the previous 90 days, with some items like jewelry and perishables typically excluded. Consumer Reports said one card issuer that offers purchase security is Capital One. The perk comes with any of its Visa Signature cards.
Don't you hate it when your flight gets delayed, but you're responsible to pay out of your own pocket? Well, if you bought your ticket with a credit card that offers travel delay or trip cancellation insurance, your delay may be a little less frustrating and a little less expensive. The Chase Sapphire card, for example, offers this benefit.
Consumer Reports said different cards may have different restrictions, like your travel might need to be delayed more than 12 hours or require an overnight stay, but if the requirements are met, these cards will pick up the tab for related expenses, including hotel costs, meals and even toiletries.
By the way, if you feel you have been mistreated by an airline, Consumer Reports has advice on what to do next.
Extended warranty perk
Consumer Reports told us another common credit card perk people don't know they may have is extended warranty protection. In fact, Consumer Reports generally doesn't recommend you buy an expensive extended warranty when you purchase a product. But, if it comes at no additional cost when you use your credit card -- like with the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card -- why not?
Be sure to pay for any repairs with the same credit card and keep all your receipts. Submit the necessary paperwork to your credit card company and you’ll eventually see a credit appear on a future statement.
Credit cards that provide extended warranties don’t do so for all products that you buy. Excluded items can include medical equipment and software. Make sure to get the details on the coverage before making a big purchase.
Guaranteed return perk
Don't you hate it when you try to return an item only to find out the retailer will no longer accept it? Well, credit cards, like the Visa Infinite card, may be able to help.
For cards that still offer this benefit, Consumer Reports said as long as you are within the acceptable time frame, usually 90 days after you purchased the item, and you used your credit card to purchase that item, your credit card company will give you a refund -- up to a certain price cap -- if you send them the unwanted item.
Find out the hidden perks your card offers
Consumer Reports said figuring out what your card covers is as simple as calling the toll-free number on the back of your card and asking. You can also find out about the perks offered by looking up the card online or reading the agreement you signed when you took out the card.
To take advantage of these credit card benefits, you may need to submit a receipt to the card issuer. Sometimes, though, you may have to jump through hoops to prove you qualify for the benefit. But, don't be discouraged. The more of a paper trail you can create, the better off you’ll be.
Get more cash back
None of us shop the same way, and because of that, a card that gives a lot of cash back to one person, may not be the right card for another. Consumer Reports has made it easy for you to compare credit cards so you can find one with the most generous cash back rewards, based on your actual spending.
Try Consumer Reports' Credit Card Comparison Tool to take all of the guesswork out. After you enter your monthly spending in the categories shown on the left side of the tool, it reveals which cards will give you the most cash back after one year and three years.
Consumer Reports said once you have the right card for you, it can put hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars in your pocket.