When you miss a merchant’s return deadline policy, it can feel like you’re out of options. But if you bought the item with a credit card with return protection, you could return the item even if the merchant won’t accept it.
Return protection is different across cards, and not all cards offer it. Here are a few credit cards with return protection available on the market.
Return protection gives you to option to return an item you purchased with your card, up to 90 days. This can get you coverage between $250 and $500 per item with an annual maximum of $1,000. You’ll be reimbursed by the credit card company, even if the merchant won’t accept the return. This features is free, but not all cards provide this and some can offer limitations, so read the find print.
Using return protection slightly varies between card providers, but in general, here’s how it works:
- Buy an eligible item with a credit card with return protection.
- If you change your mind, check with the merchant whether you can return the item.
- If not, you have 90 days to call your credit card benefit administrator and ask for a claim form.
- Fill out the claim form and submit it along with other required documents, including receipts of the purchase.
- Wait for customer support to reach out to you and provide further instructions.
Note: To be eligible for return protection reimbursement, the item must be in like-new condition.
Who gets to use return protection?
The main cardholder and sometimes the authorized users who have made the purchase entirely with their eligible credit card can use this feature.
Purchases not eligible for return protection
Some purchases are not eligible for return protection. They include:
- Animals and living plants.
- Boats, aircraft, automobiles and other motorized vehicles and their motors, equipment, or accessories.
- Cash, bullion, traveler’s checks, tickets, credit or debit cards and other negotiable instruments.
- Computer software.
- Damaged and nonfunctional items.
- Formal attire including cocktail dresses, tuxedos, gowns and formal accessories.
- Items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use.
- Items purchased outside of the United States.
- Items that have been altered.
- Jewelry, art objects, rare or precious coins or stamps, antiques and collectible items.
- Medical equipment.
- Perishables, consumables and limited-life items including rechargeable batteries.
- Real estate, and items which are intended to become part of real estate including items that are hard-wired or hard-plumbed, garage doors, garage door openers and ceiling fans.
- Seasonal items including, but not limited to, holiday decorations
Return protection was a perk offered by most card providers. As of 2018 and 2019, card providers like Discover and Citi discontinued this perk. Now only a few card providers offer it and not on all of their credit cards.
Here are the providers that still offer purchase protection:
Return protection is useful for expensive purchases with a short return policy. If you fill out the proper forms, your credit card provider can reimburse you between $250 and $500 an item.
But if you don’t think you’ll use credit protection, compare credit cards to find the right fit for your wallet.