The 2013 holiday shopping season is almost here, and it’s never too early to start planning! Whether you’re scouring the internet for leaked Black Friday ads and hoping to grab an incredible deal from Wal-Mart or Best Buy, or you’re going to wait until the last minute and hunt for bargains on Amazon, shopping for Christmas or Hanukkah can be overwhelming.
Plus, even if you’re not ready for the holiday season just yet, the scammers are! Scammers love to exploit consumer holidays and the winter shopping season is often wrought with credit card fraud and other scams to steal your money. Consumers need to be extra careful shopping on new websites or auction sites like eBay because many scammers create fake holiday stores just to rip you off.
Luckily, you can protect yourself from scams — and receive a number of added benefits — if you do your holiday shopping with a credit card! Here are four of our favorite reasons to use a credit card for your holiday shopping:
1. Safer Online Shopping
If you’re one of the million Americans who plan to shop online this holiday season, skip debit and opt for the credit card. Why? Credit cards offer excellent fraud protection that debit card typically do not.
Banks and card issuers actively search of fraudulent behavior on consumer accounts, which means if someone steals your physical card or credit card number, your liability is limited. This is especially beneficial when you use your credit card to shop online. The internet is full of shady vendors and using a credit card will protect you against online fraud.
2. Extended Warranty
The moment you buy that computer or big screen TV is the moment the warranty begins. This means that if you have a 90 day warranty, by the time you actually give the items to the people on your shopping list, the warranty length is already shortened.
Fortunately, most credit cards offer some type of extended warranty on electronics and other big ticket items. This means if you bought someone a new computer and it doesn’t work after the warranty has expired, your card provider will likely cover most of the repairs, if not all of them.
Not every credit card provider offers this kind of benefit, though. To see if your does, read the fine print on your contract or contact your card provider.
3. Travel Rewards
If you’re a holiday traveler, then be sure to book your reservation and travel plans using a credit card. If you get sick and can’t make your planned travel arrangements, you’ll likely need to cancel your reservations — and most card providers offer some type of reservation cancellation service.
This means that if you need to cancel your hotel or other travel arrangements, you card provider will cover some of the cost. Debit cards, cash, and checks don’t offer this type of benefit.
If you plan on renting a car on your vacation, credit cards offer yet another little-known benefit: complimentary rental car insurance. While you should still check your card’s fine print for details, most card providers offer automatic rental car insurance. This mean you won’t have to buy the rental company’s costly insurance plan.
4. Concierge Service
If you’re planning on buying tickets for that special someone during the holidays, check out your card provider’s concierge services.
Often, your credit card company can get you tickets to that sold-out event or help you book you ticket in advance.
So if you’ve got friends or family visiting you this holiday season, call your credit card provider and see what entertainment bonuses they can offer.
Your credit card may also feature special cash-back bonuses for dining at certain restaurants, ordering that Starbucks Peppermint Mocha you’ve been pining for all year, or patronizing other specific businesses. Get the most out of your winter vacations by maximizing your credit card’s bonuses.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any other reasons to use your credit card this holiday season? What’s your reasoning? Let us know in the comments section.