We’re often told that credit cards are only good for one thing – zero per cent deals and cheap borrowing. You could be forgiven for thinking that the only thing that matters in a credit card is the headline rate and the length of 0% balance transfer
But there’s more to credit cards than meets the eye, and if you’ve got a handle on your finances and are looking for something more than a way to manage costs through the month, then credit cards are a good place to start. Some of the best credit cards on offer will provide you with free insurance, discounts on restaurants, cashback and even money off in shops.
So what’s the catch? Many credit card providers hide these benefits in the small print, and include stringent clauses that it can seem more difficult to take advantage of their offers than not. But the deals are there for the taking and it’s up to you to play your cards right – MoneyExpert.com shows you how…
Save money on your travel insurance
By researching the credit card market you’ll soon find that some cards offer more added extras than others. There are basic cards whose main purpose is to attract customers with lengthy 0% balance transfer deals or 0% Introductory purchase rates. Then there are cards that offer low interest rates for the life of your balance, allowing their customers to pay off their debt without costing the earth.
But there are also ‘added value’ cards, which offer you many added benefits such as free insurance or Air Miles while still offering decent interest rates.
It’s often the so-called Gold or Platinum credit cards that go the extra mile for their customers. Don’t be put off by the name – many people fall well within the application criteria for these credit cards but you will need a good credit rating to be considered.
If you look beyond the interest rates and go into the terms and conditions of the cards you can find all manner of hidden goodies and a variety of special offers, including:
* Extended Warranty
* Price Match Guarantee
* Free Medical Insurance
* Fraud Guarantees
* Free purchase protection
* Free travel insurance
Take control and take advantage of the special offers
The problem is quite often you will need to take proactive steps to take advantage of these special offers. They’re not yours from the word go and you won’t get them without making an effort.
So what should you look out for to ensure you’re one step ahead of the game? There will be different conditions for every card and every policy but in general:
Extended Warranty – you need to register any electrical goods you have purchased within 60 days of making the purchase. If you could be entitled to one more year as an extended warranty for free – the sort of thing crafty salesmen try to sell you on the High Street once you’ve bought your new TV.
Price Match Guarantee – if you buy something in the shops but then suffer the frustration of finding it cheaper elsewhere within 60 days, you could be entitled to receive a refund the difference.
Usually the item will have to be the same make, model and specification and available to the general public at normal retail outlets (online shops are normally excluded from these Price Match Guarantees). To back up your claim you will need some physical such as the entire advertisement or a note from the store in question, stating an exact price and full product description.
Be happy, be savvy
The bottom line is that providers will want you to follow their strict procedures follow all their rules and fill in all their forms. But if you know this is how the game is played, and you’ve found a credit card with the right benefits for you, don’t be afraid to take the plunge.
Just play your cards right and you could be sitting pretty with hundreds of pounds worth of free insurance, guarantees and discounts.