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Credit Cards

3 credit card benefits to use for last-minute holiday shopping

Expedited shipping and purchase protection are shopping benefits offered by credit cards.

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The Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students is no longer available for new applicants.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

If there's one thing I'm guilty of, along with millions of other Americans, it's waiting until the last minute to shop for holiday gifts. According to a study conducted by OnePoll during the 2020 holiday season, half of the respondents bought a gift on Christmas Eve and 39% even made purchases on Christmas Day.

If you've found yourself in this same pickle, don't fret. There are several credit card benefits you can use to ensure the presents you order will arrive in time.

Select details the perks you can take advantage of to make sure your last minute Christmas shopping goes smoothly.

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Credit card benefits for last minute Christmas shopping


ShopRunner is a shipping service that gives free two-day shipping when you shop with one of their partner brands, ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue to MLBShop and Cole Haan. Normally, an annual membership costs $79, but there are several rewards credit cards that give a complimentary membership to the service.

The full list of stores that ShopRunner partners with is here, and while there are dozens of cards giving a complimentary membership, a few of our favorites are:

If you don't have a credit card that offers ShopRunner as a benefit, you can sign up for a three-month free trial of the service.

Credit cards with instant numbers when approved

If you're interested in adding a new credit card to your wallet, whether it be to increase your purchasing power or to earn a valuable welcome bonus, but you want to be able to start spending immediately, consider applying for a card with 'instant number access.' This means once you're approved you can immediately request the card details be sent to you instead of having to wait for your new card to show up in the mail.

This is convenient if you're shopping online, but what about if you plan on making purchases in-person? In lieu of a physical credit card, you can input the details of your new account into your smartphone's digital wallet, such as Apple Pay®, and pay using your phone.

Here are a few credit cards that offer instant access numbers:

Amazon Prime or Walmart Plus

There are a few credit cards that offer complimentary memberships to Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus. Each of these programs offer free, expedited shipping on your orders. In some areas having an Amazon Prime or Walmart+ membership allows you to get orders to your door in just a few hours.

One would assume that the Walmart Rewards™ Card or the Amazon Visa comes with their respective subscription service free as part of being a cardmember. However, that's not the case.

If you're looking for Walmart+ benefits, consider applying for The Platinum Card® from American Express. Upon enrollment, you can receive a statement credit for the Walmart+ monthly membership fee ($12.95 + applicable taxes) when you use your Platinum Card to pay. The card comes with a long list of other benefits for luxury travel, shopping and more. Plus Ups are excluded. Subject to auto-renewal.

If you're a current college student, you can qualify for a variety of student credit cards, including the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students — which reimburses you up to a life-time total of $59 after signing up for an Amazon Prime Student subscription and spending $500 in eligible purchases in the first three billing cycles.

Pro tip

If you're planning on making one or more expensive purchases in the last days of the shopping season, consider grabbing a credit card with purchase protection. This is a free policy that covers many items from theft or damage in the first 90 days after purchase, up to a certain dollar amount.

Bottom line

If you're still scrambling to get holiday gifts, you may want to consider one of the credit card perks mentioned above to expedite your last minute purchases.

However, before making any financial decisions, especially around the holidays, be sure to refer back to your budget. The holidays can be joyous, but starting the new year off with credit card debt is not a great feeling.

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Information about the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students, SoFi Credit Card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, Walmart Rewards™ Card, and the Prime Visa has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication. If you purchase something through Select links for the Prime Visa, we may earn a commission.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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