Personal Finance

Your credit card's secret perks

Key Points
  • Some valuable card benefits are buried in the fine print, including price guarantees, purchase security, extended warranties and return protection.
  • Taking advantage of these offerings adds up, potentially saving you more than a highly touted rewards program.
Hidden credit card perks
Hidden credit card perks

Chances are, you picked your credit card based on the rewards, yet the most valuable perks could be ones you're not even aware of.

Over the past few years, card issuers have upped the ante with better rewards and sign-up bonuses to attract customers. However, there are a few benefits that have been in the fine print all along, including price guarantees, purchase security, extended warranties and return protection — all of which are common for most credit cards.

In fact, four in five credit cards boast at least one of these hidden benefits that could save you money, according to a report by And some cards, including Discover it, Chase Freedom and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, offer all of them.

Extended warranty protection. These can be a real gotcha at checkout, so check to see if your card already covers you. Some cards offer as much as two additional years on products you purchase with credit.

Purchase security. More than half of the cards out there will repair or reimburse your purchases if they are damaged, lost or stolen within the first 90 days, according to

Price protection. This benefit, which will refund the difference (up to a certain amount) if the price drops after you pull the trigger on a large purchase, can be a huge relief if you are always price shopping.

Return protection. If you can't get a refund at the store because too much time has gone by, your credit card issuer may be able to help, as long as it's within 90 days in most cases.

These incentives aren't advertised because they don't drive most customers to sign up, according to Matt Schulz, senior analyst at "Nobody is going to apply for a card to get an extended warranty," he said.

But all together, the potential value can be substantial, Schulz said — even exceeding the benefits you might reap from those highly touted rewards (which customers often don't even redeem).

"An extended warranty is not an inexpensive thing," he added. "If you take advantage of that and return protection, add that up and it can be significant.

"They might not be the sexiest, but the truth is, if you find a card that offers all of these perks, it's something you should know about and take into consideration," Schulz said.

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