Continued from Part 1
Also remember that charging certain items on a major credit card can confer some extra benefits. For example, car rental liability insurance is offered by some major credit card companies. If your card has this coverage, you don’t need to pay the incredibly high fees for the “loss and damage waiver” car rental companies try to charge you when you rent a car.
Insurance coverage for baggage lost when you fly is also available, depending on the credit card you choose. In fact, some credit card companies offering this insurance actually cover in addition to what the airline will pay you for lost bags. This baggage coverage is no cost on some credit cards and is well worth having. Travel insurance is also included, so that you would not lose the whole cost of the flight, and would just need to pay a ticket change fee of about $50 to $100 if an emergency cropped up. If the flight is a long-haul one, this insurance coverage is worth having.
Price protection for items you purchase that drop in price after you buy them is offered by some companies. Stores must allow a 30 day ‘cooling off’ period with an unconditional money-back guarantee. They should honor any price differences and refund the money within 30 days. Some major credit card companies allow up to 60 days and will refund you such price differences.
A debit card will not usually confer all of these perks. And indeed, the major difference is the most crucial one: You liability with credit cards in the event of identity theft or fraud will be zero or much lower with a credit card than with a debit card. With a credit card, if you suspect anything fraudulent, you have up to 90 days to report it. With a debit card, you need to report it within 2 business days. Otherwise, you will be liable.
If you do not look at your online banking account that often, or you are overseas, for example, this can be a major financial disaster. Therefore, use your debit card only sparingly for online purchases, and use a credit card instead because of all the extras it offers. Then pay off the bill at the end of each month.
*Determine Your Benefits and Weigh Risks Versus Rewards
One final suggestion is to take time to read all the fine print on a credit card application to determine what special privileges and perks you get with your card, or call customer service and ask. Then choose to use the card that gives you the most benefits in terms of cash back, benefits, insurance, and other perks.
Credit cards do not have to be a disaster and can indeed improve your credit score and even help you save money if you care cautious and learn how to use them to your advantage financially.
For more information on how to improve your family finances, see