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So let’s say that you buy a lamp from an expensive store only to get buyer’s remorse when you get home. You may rush to return the over-priced purchase as soon as possible, only to find out that the store has a no-return policy.
This is where return protection comes in. Credit card return protection is a notoriously fickle credit card perk that’s also increasingly rare. Despite its extensive fine print and exclusions, it can be beneficial for consumers who are having second thoughts about a purchase.
What is credit card return protection?
Credit card return protection is an added benefit of making a purchase with a credit card that allows individuals to return a purchase even if the retailer doesn’t allow returns. If the retailer allows returns, credit card return protection can extend the time a consumer has to return the item.
It’s important to note that not all credit card issuers offer return protection, as it’s a dying perk in the credit card industry. Over the last few years, many issuers — such as Discover in 2018 — have phased out return protection benefits altogether.
How does return protection work?
The steps of processing a return request can be a cumbersome experience, and it varies based on the card, card issuer and purchase in question. Credit card issuers who still offer purchase return protection will often have rules that exclude some purchases.
If the item is eligible for a return, most issuers will require the following to process the request:
- A credit card statement showing that the purchase was made with their card that offers return protection
- The original receipt of purchase
- Documentation that you tried to return the purchase to the original retailer
Rules and restrictions for credit card return protection
|Issuer||Return eligibility window||Limits||Exclusions||Full guidelines|
|American Express||90 days after purchase||
||American Express Return Protection terms and conditions|
|Mastercard||60 days after purchase||
||Mastercard Return Protection terms and conditions|
|Visa (Infinite Cards)||90 days after purchase||
||Visa Return Protection terms and conditions|
|Discover||Does not offer return protection||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The bottom line
Credit card return protection can offer peace of mind when shopping for an item that may not be refundable. However, the extensive fine print and exclusions make this more of a backup option to get a refund rather than a credit card perk you can use routinely. If you’re out of luck on return protection, check if your credit card offers purchase protection.