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What is credit card purchase protection?

Pay with the right credit card, and you can get help with a refund or have an item fixed or replaced.

Summary

Credit card purchase protection doesn’t get as much attention as other card benefits like lounge access or travel credits, but this perk can be exceptionally valuable if you know how to use it.

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Credit card purchase protection can be a valuable tool, but only if you know how to harness it for your benefit. For starters, you need to know whether your credit card offers purchase protection in the first place, and if so, the terms and conditions that apply to your coverage.

Fortunately, several of the best cash back cards and travel credit cards offer purchase protection as a complimentary benefit. Once you have the right card, activating this coverage only requires using your card to pay for items you want protected.

Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about purchase protection benefits and which top credit cards offer this perk.

What is credit card purchase protection?

Purchase protection is a complimentary benefit offered by some credit cards. This protection allows a cardholder to receive a refund or replacement if the item purchased with an eligible credit card is damaged or stolen.

One popular Chase credit card that offers purchase protection is the Chase Freedom Flex℠, and here’s how Chase describes this coverage on its website:

“Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.”

Let’s say that you purchase a computer monitor with your Freedom Flex but it stops working unexpectedly within a few days of purchase. In this case, you could take it back to the store to get a refund or make an exchange. If that doesn’t work, you could file a purchase protection claim with Chase (within 120 days of purchase) and have your item repaired or replaced or get a refund of the purchase price (up to $500).

That said, it’s worth noting that purchase protection is different from two similar credit card benefits — extended warranties and return protection. Whereas purchase protection replaces or repairs items in the event of damage or theft, extended warranties add an additional period of warranty coverage to items that already come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Meanwhile, return protection is a less common benefit that guarantees the return of an item when the retailer refuses to take it back.

Also note that all credit cards come with some basic protections on purchases due to the Fair Credit Billing Act. This basic protection is available when you use any credit card to make a purchase – even if the card issuer doesn’t offer additional coverage.

How does this federal protection work? Let’s say you purchase concert tickets for an event that is canceled (not postponed), yet you can’t seem to get a refund from the venue where you bought them. In this case, you can file a chargeback with your credit card and get a temporary refund for the tickets. At that point, the venue will have to prove the charge is valid, and you’ll keep your refund if they can’t.

Beyond this basic protection is where some credit cards offer purchase protection benefits. We’ll explain which cards offer this perk and what is typically covered in the sections below.

Credit cards that offer purchase protection

Quite a few credit cards offer purchase protection against damage or theft, including both personal credit cards and business credit cards.

Below you’ll find a list of the top credit cards with purchase protection, plus how much each card’s coverage is worth:

What’s covered under a credit card’s purchase protection?

First off, it’s important to note that timelines for credit card purchase protection vary, with most lasting from 90 days to 120 days of the date of purchase. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure you know your card’s policy and timeline, and that you file any applicable purchase protection claims before it’s too late.

Other details regarding credit card purchase protection vary, and this includes what is and isn’t covered by a policy. To find out the exact coverage details and exclusions for your credit card, you’ll want to read over your card’s benefits guide right away.

As an example, credit card purchase protection from the Chase Sapphire Reserve will replace, repair or reimburse you up to a maximum of $10,000 for each claim, with a maximum benefit of $50,000 per year. That said, the decision to replace, repair or reimburse you for an item will be “made at the Benefit Administrator’s discretion,” notes Chase.

While a variety of purchases are covered when you pay for all or part of the purchase with your Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase lists a variety of exclusions, including the following:

  • Animals and living plants
  • Antiques and collectible items
  • Boats, aircraft, automobiles, and any other motorized vehicles and their accessories
  • Computer software
  • Items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use
  • Items that mysteriously disappear
  • Items lost in transit by a common carrier
  • Medical equipment
  • Perishables and consumables
  • Rented or leased items
  • Traveler’s checks and cash
  • Used or pre-owned items

These are just some of the items Chase coverage excludes, but you get the idea.

Unless specifically excluded, Chase purchase protection applies to most items as long as you use your credit card or rewards points from your associated rewards account to pay. This includes purchases made outside the United States as well as gifts, provided they don’t fall under one of the excluded categories within this benefit.

However, note that the example we included covers Chase purchase protection on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Your credit card’s purchase protection plan will likely have some nuances of its own, as well as other listed exclusions. Make sure to read over your credit card program’s terms and conditions so you know for sure.

How to file a purchase protection claim

To file a purchase protection claim, you’ll typically fill out an online claim form on your credit card issuer’s website. You may also be able to call in to file your claim over the phone.

This all depends on the exact credit card you have, and most card issuers have a page on their website that gives exact instructions. For example, both American Express and Chase make it easy to file a claim online or over the phone.

To file a purchase protection claim on the phone or online, you’ll need to have the following information handy:

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • Date of purchase
  • Date of claim
  • Receipt for the item
  • Reason for your claim
  • Your credit card number
  • Supporting documentation for your purchase protection claim
  • A police report filed within 48 hours if your claim is due to theft

Bottom line

Credit card purchase protection can help you recoup your losses when an item you buy stops working or gets stolen in the first few months. To qualify for this important coverage, you just need to use the right credit card to pay.

In the meantime, make sure you’re saving receipts for items that are worth filing a purchase protection claim for, and keep track of coverage dates so you know when your purchase protection expires. If you wind up in a situation where an expensive item is lost, damaged or stolen, you’ll be glad you were proactive when it comes to this important benefit.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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