Credit cards that offer purchase protection

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There are numerous reasons to use a credit card any time you make a large purchase, and that’s especially true when you have the cash to pay your balance in full right away. Many credit cards let you earn rewards as a percentage of your spending, after all, and most credit cards come with zero liability coverage that protects you from fraud. Further, some credit cards come with added consumer protections and benefits that can help consumers get reimbursement for eligible products if something goes wrong.

Purchase protection is one such benefit, although not all credit cards offer this important coverage. If you’re planning on spending a lot of money on furniture, electronics or another large purchase, keep reading to learn more about purchase protection, how this coverage can help you save money and which credit cards have it.

What is credit card purchase protection?

Purchase protection is a benefit that applies to purchases you make with your credit card for a specific amount of time. With this important coverage, you can be reimbursed for an item or receive a replacement if your purchase is damaged or stolen, usually within 90 to 120 days.

Consider this example of how purchase protection could work in the real world. Imagine you purchase a new laptop computer for $450 and you pay for the entire charge with a credit card that offers purchase protection. If the laptop stopped working within the time specified for this coverage, you could rely on your credit card’s purchase protection to repair or replace your item up to policy limits.

Keep in mind that purchase protection is never offered in unlimited amounts. Generally speaking, you’ll have a per-claim limit and an annual limit or lifetime limit on your plan. Certain types of purchases also tend to be excluded from purchase protection coverage, which we’ll go over more in detail below.

Best credit cards offering purchase protection

There are plenty of rewards credit cards with purchase protection that protects against damage or theft, but here are some of the best options available today:

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Purchase protection coverage: Get coverage against damage or theft for up to 120 days with a maximum of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
  • Welcome bonus: $200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening
  • Rewards rate: Earn 5 percent back after activation on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1 percent), 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on everything else; also earn 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • Annual fee: $0

Why you’ll like it: The new Chase Freedom Flex offers lucrative rewards in an array of popular categories many people spend a lot of money on. Not only will you earn 5 percent back after activation on up to $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly categories, but you’ll also earn 5 percent on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft rides (through March 2022). Earning 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases is another major plus, especially when you consider this card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

You also qualify for 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Purchase protection coverage: Get coverage for damage or theft for up to 120 days with a maximum benefit of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
  • Welcome bonus: $200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening
  • Rewards rate: Earn 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5 percent back on everything else; also earn 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022).
  • Annual fee: $0

Why you’ll like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited was recently upgraded to include more ways to earn rewards beyond the standard 1.5 percent back on all purchases. You won’t pay an annual fee, yet you’ll earn the basic rate on everyday spending, as well as 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase and 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases. You’ll also earn the same 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022). The purchase protection offered by this card is the exact same as the Chase Freedom Flex.

To help you save on interest, this card also grants new cardholders 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Purchase protection coverage: Qualify for American Express purchase protection for up to 90 days from the date of purchase; maximum claim amount is limited to $1,000 per covered purchase, up to $50,000 per covered card and up to $500 in coverage per natural disaster event
  • Welcome bonus: Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.
  • Rewards rate: Earn 6 percent back on up to $6,000 on purchases in U.S. supermarket spending each year (then 1 percent) as well as select U.S. streaming subscriptions; also earn 3 percent back on transit including purchases made at U.S. gas stations and 1 percent back on other purchases
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95

Why you’ll like it: The Blue Cash Preferred Card offers one of the best rewards rates on groceries among all rewards credit cards on the market today. In addition to earning 6 percent back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1 percent), you’ll also earn the same rate on select U.S. streaming subscriptions like Hulu and Netflix, as well as 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations and transit and the standard rate of 1 percent back on everything else you buy.

This card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). However, you can also earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months. Redeem your rewards for statement credits, gift cards or even merchandise.

You can also save money on interest since this card comes with 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

  • Purchase protection coverage: Get coverage for up to 120 days from the purchase date with a maximum benefit of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
  • Welcome bonus: Earn $750 in bonus cash back when you spend $7,500 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Rewards rate: Earn 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each year (then 1 percent), 2 percent back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each year (then 1 percent) and 1 percent back on other purchases
  • Annual fee: $0

Why you’ll like it: If you’re looking for a business credit card that offers purchase protection on business-related purchases, it would be hard to beat the Ink Business Cash. This card offers bonus rewards in a range of popular categories, including office supply stores, gas and dining—and you can earn a significant initial welcome bonus, too. In terms of this card’s purchase protection, the fact that coverage is worth up to $10,000 per claim is good since you may need more coverage for large purchases if you use your card to buy pricey workplace equipment or other business supplies.

Interestingly, this card also grants business owners 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • Purchase protection coverage: Coverage is good for up to 90 days from date of purchase; a maximum benefit of $1,000 per claim and $50,000 per account per 12-month period applies
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points worth $200 when you spend $1,000 within three months of account opening
  • Rewards rate: Earn 3X points on dining, gas stations, ride-shares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and popular streaming services, as well as 1X points on other purchases
  • Annual fee: $0

Why you’ll like it: The Wells Fargo Propel poses stiff competition if you’re looking for a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a bevy of purchase protections, including the hard-to-find return protection perk. You’ll earn 3X points in an array of popular categories like dining and airfare, as well as 1X points on everything else you buy. You also get the chance to redeem your rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more.

As an added bonus, you’ll qualify for 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers (5 percent or $3 minimum balance transfer fee within the first 120 days, 5 percent or $5 after) for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.49 percent to 24.99 percent, which can help you save on interest when you make a large purchase or consolidate and pay down debt.

How to use purchase protection

Credit cards that offer purchase protection only extend this coverage when you use your credit card to pay for the item you want coverage for. However, you may also be able to use this coverage if you paid for an item with rewards earned with a credit card that offers purchase protection. Here is what Chase says about qualifying for coverage in their fine print:

Purchase protection “can repair, replace or reimburse you for eligible items in the event of theft or damage when items are purchased with an eligible Chase card or with rewards earned on an eligible Chase card.”

Once you pay for an item with your credit card, the item is automatically eligible for coverage provided it is not listed as an excluded item in your card’s benefits guide. If your item is damaged or stolen while your purchase protection coverage is still in force, you are typically instructed to file a claim by calling into a claims hotline or filling out a claims form online.

Common purchase protection exclusions

Keep in mind that not all purchases qualify for purchase protection and that exclusions can vary from card issuer to card issuer. If you plan to use your credit card for purchase protection, you should read through the fine print of your coverage to see which items do and do not qualify.

Common exclusions include used or pre-owned items, items left in plain sight before they were stolen, antiques and other collectibles, computer software, items purchased commercially for resale and boats and other motorized vehicles. Items confiscated by the government may also be excluded, as well as losses due to acts of war, items with normal wear and tear or items that mysteriously disappear.

The bottom line

If you plan on making a large purchase and you want some peace of mind in case something goes wrong, signing up for one of the best purchase protection credit cards makes a lot of sense. Not only can you earn rewards for shopping, but you may get reimbursed or see your item replaced if it’s damaged or stolen while your coverage is in force.

Still, the best part about credit card purchase protection is the fact this benefit is offered for free as a cardholder perk. Because you can get coverage without paying for it, you might as well take advantage.

The information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.