Sure, you know that carrying a credit card balance from month to month is bad news, and that buying big-ticket items on your card can be like paying a premium on the sticker price. But, turns out, your credit card isn't so terrible after all.
In fact, it can actually save you money — or at least a headache — on certain products and services you buy. That's because credit cards offer perks and protections that cash and debit don't. Check out these seven purchases you should charge.
1. Online Purchases
You've found it — an autographed jersey worn by your favorite ballplayer, sweat stains included. The website seems reputable. You hate to charge splurges and indulgences like this, so you pay with your debit card instead of using your credit card. But, this is one case where you should rethink your approach and charge the purchase instead.
The credit card company will have your back if the seller turns out to be less than reputable. If the charge against your card is different from what was advertised, you can dispute it with your credit card company, who will investigate the issue for you. Best of all, unlike purchases on your debit card, you won't be out any money until the investigation is closed.
But, what if that jersey never turns up in the mail, or the seller neglects to mention it's torn up in the back? Worry not — your credit card has you covered for lost or damaged goods, too.
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2. Over-the-Phone Purchases
Telephone purchases should always be made by credit card in case the seller doesn't follow through, or you're unhappy with the product.
Frankly, you're at a disadvantage when you read your debit card number over the phone, because you don't receive a record of your transaction. You might not even get a confirmation email unless the seller agrees to send one. Even if you receive a receipt and end up not liking the product, the seller has more power to refuse a refund.
Use a credit card, though, and you can dispute any transactions on your account. Credit card companies have a lot of experience investigating problematic sellers, and generally won't hesitate to remove any charges on your account for unfulfilled or unsatisfactory orders. Further, retailers are more willing to work with you if you're unhappy with a purchase and threaten a chargeback.
Even if the seller refuses to refund your purchase, you can issue a chargeback through your credit card company to avoid paying for the product. Just make sure you understand your state's consumer return and refund laws.
3. Electronics and Appliances
Electronics and appliances can break down or develop problems without a moment's notice, sometimes right out of the box. Your credit card might offer warranties where the merchant does not. This is called purchase protection, and many card companies offer it as a perk to cardholders.
Even if the merchant or manufacturer does offer a brief warranty period, credit card companies often provide extended warranties for free. That's why paying extra for an extended warranty isn't worth it.
Another plus: The extended warranty you receive through your credit card company is likely to be the same, if not better, than what you might buy at checkout. Considering that the median extended warranty price paid in store is $81, according to Consumer Reports, you can save quite a bit of money leaning on the warranties your card offers.
4. Other Big-Ticket Items
If you're purchasing a big-ticket item, consider opening a rewards credit card with an interest-free grace period. You'll earn rewards, like cash back or travel points, on your purchase, and get a bit of time to pay off your balance before interest kicks in.
With so many credit card companies out there competing for your business, you can find a card that offers a sign-up bonus. If your new card offers a cash back bonus, you can put that amount toward your purchase, effectively reducing how much you pay out of pocket.
See Also: Here are the Best Credit Cards for Big Spenders
5. Airline Tickets
Airline tickets are one of the best things to put on credit cards. Most card companies offer travel protection in the way of lost luggage and trip cancellation insurance. You might also gain access to VIP airport lounges simply by having the right piece of plastic in your wallet.
Don't overlook the advantages of airline credit cards either. On top of miles you rack up off purchases, you can earn bonus miles by booking through certain airlines. With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, you get 5 percent miles back anytime you use your points for travel. This can be a boon if you travel a lot.
However, keep in mind that you need good credit for many rewards cards. So, do your research to find a travel rewards credit card that suits your lifestyle and credit score.
6. Car Rentals and Hotel Stays
If you want to rent a car with a debit card, you might need to put down a deposit. Use a credit card, though, and not only might you get to ditch the deposit, your card company could already have you covered with car rental insurance.
Similarly, book hotel rooms with a credit card to avoid a potential deposit. Your card might even come with insurance that covers you if your room is burglarized.
If you frequent a specific hotel chain, don't overlook travel credit cards that reward you for booking through them. You can earn points toward free stays. The Hyatt Credit Card even rewards you with one free night stay every year.