How Do Credit Card Protection Programs Work? A Thorough Guide
Credit cards have become quite the staple in the current payment ecosystem. According to forecasts by Insider Intelligence, the volume of credit card transactions in the U.S. is expected to exceed $3.2 trillion by 2024.
With the increasing economic relevance of these cards, banks and card companies have started providing various credit card protection plans to attract more customers.
These protections are usually part of the cards’ perks and benefits packages but can also be available as add-on services. An excellent example of add-on protection is the credit card payment protection plan, which may safeguard your credit standing if you cannot pay your card debt due to financial hardships.
In this article, you will get a comprehensive look at various types of credit card protection programs and their relevance. We will explain how they work and help you evaluate the available protections on your current card.
What Is a Credit Card Protection Program?
A credit card protection program—also called credit card insurance or protection plan—aims to safeguard you against different risks you may encounter while using a credit card, such as:
- Loss or theft of a card
- Fraudulent transactions
- Undesirable or accidental purchases
- Emergencies like unemployment or disability that impair your ability to repay credit card debt
By default, all U.S. consumer credit cards include fraud protection thanks to the federal Fair Credit Billing Act. The law states that if a consumer card is used for unauthorized transactions by a malicious party, your liability will not exceed $50.
Regardless, you’re typically not required to pay anything, as most card issuers offer a zero liability cover for all fraudulent transactions as a general courtesy to their customers.
Besides the standard fraud protection, your credit card provider may offer other protection plans to safeguard you in different scenarios, either free of charge or for an additional fee. Some of the most common protection programs are:
- Return protection
- Purchase protection
- Price protection
- Travel insurance
- Rental car insurance
- Payment protection
Let’s unveil what these protections entail and what their conditions are.
A credit card return protection plan is usually an added perk that:
- Extends the return window of a purchased item
- Allows you to return items that have no seller-sponsored return policy
Depending on your card provider, you can claim the benefit by submitting documents like the purchase receipt and a copy of the store’s return policy. You may have to follow specific shipping rules if the merchant does not accept returns.
Check out some cards that offer return protection (current as of August 2023):