By Howard Schwartz of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau
Paying by credit card is not only safer for consumers than debit, cash or check. Connecticut Better Business Bureau says responsible use of credit cards also can pay off in many other ways.
Recent data breaches at well-known retailers underscore a significant reason to use credit rather than debit: Security. When a debit card is used fraudulently, the money comes right out of your bank account. When unauthorized or disputed charges appear on a credit card statement, you have a buffer while the credit card company investigates.
Beyond security, credit card companies offer a wide range of options and advantages for consumers:
Protection – Some credit cards offer protection against accidental damage or theft of new merchandise – with some exceptions – within 90 days of purchase.
Free travel insurance – Credit cards provide a great measure of peace of mind when they offer insurance that covers trip cancellation, emergency assistance and lost or damaged luggage.
Extended warranties – Most major credit card companies offer extended warranties for free as part of their consumer protection package. Typically they will double a manufacturer’s one year warranty.
Merchandise return protection – Retailers usually limit returns to 30 days, however, this perk kicks-in for up to 90 days, if you decide you don’t want the merchandise. A credit card company may either try to help you successfully return unwanted items or refund you a portion of the purchase price.
Rewards! – Depending upon the card, you can receive up to 5 percent cash back on credit card purchases, discounts on gasoline, frequent flyer miles, gift cards and other merchandise from credit card rewards companies’ catalogs.
Your reputation – A credit card can also help you establish a sound credit history if you don’t overload yourself with debt, and pay your monthly bill on time.
When it comes to shopping, it is well worth it to shop around for a credit card that offers the kind of perks that fit your lifestyle.