Reasons to Use Your Credit Card for Christmas Shopping

Posted on December 14, 2012 by

Financial gurus may be down on credit cards, but it still provides many perks that give back. In fact, ‘tis the ideal season to be shopping with your credit card because there are several compelling reasons to use it. Here are several:

Reason #1: Return protection

Not happy with your purchase? Good news: there are some credit cards that allow you to refund the item’s purchase price, even if the store doesn’t want to. However, you’ll have to hang on to your receipt and bring the item back to where you bought it within 30 or 60 days.

Take note that credit cards have a limit as to the amount of the item you want returned. Typically, there’s a maximum of $200 or $500 for each item, or a yearly cap of up to $1,000 and $3,000. Of course, you need to look at your credit card’s terms to be sure.

Reason #2: Fraud protection

Here’s an even more useful perk: your credit card’s fraud protection service provides you 60 days or so to identify illegal purchases. If someone steals your credit card, reporting the theft to the card provider would safeguard you from the thief’s purchases. And unlike debit cards, which may provide the same protections, your credit card deals with credit, not cash.

If your debit card is stolen and used fraudulently, money used up by the thief is as good as gone. You may contest it, but if the thief knows your PIN, you are liable. If your credit card is used dishonestly, the fraudster uses up the bank’s money, not yours. You can dispute the charges without having to place your funds at risk.

Reason #3: Reward points

Remember, it’s never a good idea to shop using your credit card just to get points. But since you’ll be shopping for gifts during the holiday season, you might as well use your credit card instead of cash. Why? With your credit card, you get something in return. As you may have already known, accumulated reward points can be used to get more travel miles, products and/or rebates.

Just a reminder: use up your points before the year ends. Unredeemed rewards sometimes aren’t carried over; and even if they are, interest charges will cancel them out. To fully make the most of this perk, look for a credit card with rewards that you’re actually interested in, then shop using it. For instance, if you enjoy travelling, then grab a card with free miles and use it for shopping.

Reason #4: Extended warranty

As the name suggests, extended warranty is used in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty. If your credit card has this perk, you’re protected for a much longer time. For instance, electronic items typically come with a one-year warranty, but with an extended warranty from your card, you can have your purchase exchanged or repaired beyond that period, and you won’t have to pay for it since the coverage is free with your card. Just make sure you keep the receipt.

Reason #5: Price protection

Price protection is where your credit card lets you refund the difference if you find a cheaper price for an item you bought. This perk is useful if you’re hunting for an affordable gift during the holiday season. However, you’ll have to keep an eye on the calendar because price protection is usually good for only a month, 60 or 90 days. As with other perks, remember to save the receipt of your purchase and evidence that there really is a cheaper price, like perhaps an advertisement or screenshot.

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