In today’s erratic economy, with rosy predictions reported one day and dire warnings issued the next, it’s important for you to take advantage of every opportunity to simplify your life and prevent financial mishaps. With intense competition among credit card issuers, banks will provide you with a variety of flexible ways to better manage your accounts, and they won’t cost you a dime. Take advantage of the following services, if your credit card issuer provides them, and you’ll save money, avoid hassles and gain access to various protections.
#1 – Adjustable Payment Due Dates
There are two scenarios where you may want to change your credit card billing date:
- First, if too many of your bills are due at the same time and you’re finding it difficult to pay them all at once, you can change your credit card billing date to help spread out the payments.
- The reverse scenario might be helpful for others; simplify your payments and change your payment due date to coordinate all of your bills to fall on a specific day or week.
With most issuers, requesting the change will be as easy as logging in online and following the link to change your billing date. Two issuers, however, (Citi and American Express) require a phone call to a customer service agent; the number can be found on the back of your card.
Some issuers have limits on changing your due date but most offer multiple options. If the specific date you hope for isn’t allowed by your provider, you’re likely to find another one that works, one that corresponds with the beginning, middle or end of the month. Keep in mind that you’ll pay more interest, if you carry a balance and move your billing date forward, by increasing the number of days in that billing cycle. And the date change won’t occur immediately, possibly taking up to sixty days.
#2 – Optional Overdraft Protection
It wasn’t that long ago that your credit card would be denied if you attempted to make a purchase that put you over the credit limit. It was an automatic service that protected you from overdrafts and brought a degree of embarrassment to anyone whose credit card was refused.
To prevent those awkward moments, banks began to cover the overage for a price – a costly overdraft fee. Thanks to Congress, legislation ended unauthorized overdraft fees, but you can still opt in, if you choose, with a fee of up to $39 per overdraft. Why would you want your credit card company to let you go over your credit limit, you ask? Here are some situations where it may be helpful:
- For busy consumers, overdraft protection may be worth the price to avoid the hassle of finding another form of payment during a quick transaction.
- For large-ticket items, the cost of an accidental overdraft may be worth it. When overdraft protection kicks in and allows a large transaction, the purchase is covered by a variety of credit card purchase and warranty protections.
- If the case of an emergency, it may be worth an overdraft fee to access extra funds.
#3 – Extra Purchase Protections
Offered by all major credit card companies, purchase protection includes extended warranties, price guarantees, fraud protection and updated return policies.
- Extended warranty protection provided by many credit card issuers will double the manufacturer’s warranty on purchases made with your credit card. Keep all receipts and serial numbers, in case you need to file a claim. There are some limitations and exclusions that apply, so be sure to read the fine print in your credit card agreement.
- Price protections are in place for many credit card accounts. If you find an item you’ve purchased at a lower price, this perk allows you to apply for a refund. The terms vary depending on the card. For example, the Discover it® Card’s price protection benefit refunds a difference of up to $500 on eligible purchase within 90 days of the transaction.
To file a claim for either an extended warranty or a price protection refund, you want to put it in writing and keep track of all the appropriate paperwork, including receipts. The credit card issuer will contact the merchant to confirm your eligibility and process the claim.
Virtually all credit cards allow you to dispute a payment, if you have trouble resolving an issue with a merchant. If you’ve attempted to resolve the problem directly without any success and have a legitimate claim, the credit card company will usually side with you – the cardholder.
Using any of these helpful credit card services will have no effect on your credit history or your credit score, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of your rights.
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