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Price protection

Understanding price protection can help save you money. Here’s how it works.

What is price protection?

Price protection is a common feature of most credit cards that gives cardholders a refund for the difference in price if an item they bought with that card is available for a lower cost than what they paid for it.

Deeper definition

If you bought an item with a credit card, chances are you have price protection. Few consumers are aware of this standard credit card feature, which is an excellent way for savvy shoppers to save money.

If you’re seeking big-ticket items like airline tickets or appliances, buying with a credit card that offers price protection can result in significant savings if the price drops. While most credit card providers require the consumer to do the comparison-shopping, not all do. Citi’s Price Rewind is an exclusive feature that tracks your purchase for you. Simply register your purchases online and Citi’s search feature will track the product and search hundreds of online merchants daily. If it finds a lower price on your purchase, you automatically get a refund.

The specific terms for price protection vary across credit card banks and brands. Credit cards often vary in the amount of price protection available to consumers. For example, both Discover and Chase will refund the price difference up to $500, and each has a refund maximum of $2,500 per year. Certain credit card providers may have exclusions to their price protection policies. For instance, Discover doesn’t offer price protection on computer components. Other providers won’t issue refunds on internet purchases.

One of the reasons that price protection is such a lucrative benefit is that the drop in price doesn’t have to be with the same retailer. This means that if you buy an item at Store A and then notice that Store B has it on sale for less, you can usually get a refund.

Price protection may not be worth the hassle of comparing prices and filing a claim for small purchases, but it makes a difference on larger purchases that can quickly fluctuate in price. Just be sure to read your credit card provider’s fine print before buying so that you’re aware of all exclusions and stipulations.

Example of price protection

Let’s say you bought a washing machine that went on sale shortly after you made the purchase. If it’s within a certain amount of time (usually 30 to 60 days), simply file a claim with your credit card provider to receive a refund for the price difference. Some credit card companies have an easy form you can fill out online; others ask you to make a phone call to their customer service line. In almost all cases, you will be asked to provide a copy of your original purchase receipt, as well as proof in writing that shows the same item is now available at a lower price. In many cases, a printed advertisement can be used as proof.

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