3 Little-Known Credit Card Perks You Should Know
Rewards credit cards have changed the game for many savvy consumers, offering cash back, air miles and more. Even so, some useful perks from credit card companies have gone under the radar.
“Credit card perks come in all shapes and sizes,” says Matt Schulz, LendingTree chief credit analyst. “If you haven’t looked lately to see what your credit card is offering, you should. Card issuers will tinker under the hood, so you may have perks you had no idea about.”
Here are three lesser-known perks.
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No. 1: Cellphone protection
Several credit card companies offer to reimburse you hundreds of dollars if your phone is stolen or damaged.
“You typically need to pay your monthly wireless bill with the card in question, and the issuer won’t reimburse you if you misplace your phone, but it can be a great perk,” he says.
“Cellphone protection is a great perk that not enough people know about,” Schulz says.
No. 2: Travel insurance and related perks
Credit cards can offer travel insurance coverage in many different circumstances. These perks may cover trip delays and cancellations, lost luggage, rental car accidents and more.
In the same vein, some rewards credit cards will provide access to travel perks like free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, which can help you get through airport security faster than the average traveler.
If you have questions about what your card covers, the best way to get clarification is to call the 800 number on the back of your card and ask the issuer about it. They’ll be able to clarify what perks you can access through your account. (If you prefer to avoid the phone, a quick Google search of your credit card name and a phrase like “travel perks” may prove useful.)
No. 3: Free credit score access
Your credit score is a great way to keep track of how you’re handling your finances. Knowing where you stand is vital to accessing better opportunities, like lower-interest-rate loans. While AnnualCreditReport.com currently offers free weekly credit reports, some credit cards offer free credit scores. (While credit reports don’t include credit scores, this can come in handy when free Annual Credit Report access reverts to yearly after Dec. 31, 2023.)
A few of the credit card companies that offer this include:
Lesser-known credit card perks should never be the driving force behind applying for a new credit card, Schulz notes, adding that interest rates, annual fees, sign-up bonuses and rewards categories are far more important.
You should also keep in mind that some perks, like a free credit score, may not require you to have a credit card with that particular company.
If you aren’t willing or able to open a new credit card account, it’s a good idea to check with your existing cards for extra perks, and take advantage of these free open-access perks without damaging your credit score. Your card issuer’s website, customer service phone number or email will typically be the best sources.
“The best credit card for you is the one that best fits your lifestyle and spending habits,” Schulz says. “If your credit card doesn’t do that anymore, it’s probably time to shop for a new one. Otherwise, you risk leaving money on the table, and that’s the last thing anyone should do considering how crazy-expensive life is in 2023.”