8 Money Hassles that Credit Cards Prevent

Credit cards are great for racking up rewards and developing a good reputation with lenders, but your card also offers hidden conveniences you may not be taking advantage of. Here’s a look at eight annoyances credit card users are less likely to face compared to their cash-toting, check-writing or debit card-carrying counterparts:

1. Losing money due to merchant disputes.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, (FCBA)1 you have the right to dispute credit charges that you didn’t authorize, as well as those that weren’t charged or delivered as promised by the merchant. Under that same law, your credit issuer must acknowledge receipt of your written complaint within 30 days, and investigate the matter within 90 days. During that investigation period, you are not held accountable for the charges in question. Though you can also dispute fraudulent charges made with a debit card, you may temporarily lose access to the amount in question during the investigation.

2. Shell out money for rental car insurance.

When you rent a car, you’re responsible for damages that may occur while the car is in your possession. You can buy coverage directly from the car rental company, but credit card users may avoid the expense altogether. With that protection, cardholders can decline the Collision Damage Waiver offered by the car rental company.

3. You don’t need to pay to get your credit score.

You’re legally entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year, but your credit score isn’t typically included. And since your credit score can fluctuate due to a number of factors—changes in credit utilization and payment history among them—it’s wise to stay on top of your score. Though you can pay to access your credit score, many credit cards now offer them at no charge. Discover provides your FICO® Credit Score for free online and on monthly statements.*

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4. Wondering where cash was spent (and could potentially be saved).

Knowing where your money goes each month can help you identify how much you tend to splurge or how much you could trim from certain spending categories, like groceries and food, housing, utilities and entertainment. And though in theory everyone can track their spending regardless of which form of payment they use, many credit card issuers automatically break down monthly expenses into categories for easy expense tracking, which is especially helpful for those who struggle to manage a monthly budget.

5. Missing out on a lower price after making a purchase.

Many credit card issuers offer cardholders a complimentary price adjustment if an item bought with the credit card is later offered at a lower price. Though the terms of such price adjustment and refund policies vary by creditor, such cardholder benefits can make you feel confident that you won’t overpay for an item.

6. Being stranded roadside with no help.

Flat tires, accidents, and mechanical issues can happen on road trips for even the most well prepared travelers. Many credit card issuers offer travel-related benefits as a convenience to cardholders. Discover cardholders, for example, can call a toll free number for roadside assistance, including tow truck services, fuel delivery, and locksmiths, 24 hours a day for a flat fee.

7. Not being able to replace a defective item with a short manufacturer warranty.

When you buy items like electronics, jewelry and even precious art, a manufacturer warranty may guarantee the purchase remains in working order, but only for the foreseeable future. Many credit card issuers offer cardholders a complimentary extended warranty when they charge such purchases for additional protection and peace of mind.

8. Losing cash flow for transactions that require damage deposits.

If you check into a hotel, rent a moving truck, or lease expensive equipment, the merchant may require that you put forth a financial guarantee for incidentals and/or damage that may occur. Though you pay cash or use your debit card as collateral of sorts, you won’t have access to that money until the transaction is complete, and deemed to have taken place without incident. With a credit card, funds may be “reserved” by the merchant, but you aren’t made to pay the amount unless damage occurs.

1 http://www.usa.gov/topics/money/credit/credit-cards/disputes.shtml

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Your FICO® Credit Score and key factors are based on data from TransUnion and may be different from other credit scores. This information is intended for and only provided to Primary cardmembers who have an available score. See Discover.com/FICO about the availability of your score. Your score and key factors are available on Discover.com and your score is provided on statements. You will see up to a year of recent scores online starting when you become a cardmember. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as a FICO® Credit Score, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation of the United States and other countries.

Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac do not provide "credit repair" services or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit record, credit history or credit rating.

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