Price Protection Report: Credit Cards Shielding You From Price Drops
We’ve all heard about retailers offering price-match guarantees. But what most people don’t realize is that roughly 41% of credit cards from major issuers do the same thing, perhaps even better. So-called credit card price protection enables you to get a refund for the difference between what you pay for an item and a lower price advertised in the following 60-120 days. In other words, credit card price protection can eliminate your fear of missing out on a better deal, allowing you to both buy with confidence and save money.
But credit cards with price protection are not created equal. Coverage amounts and exclusions vary widely, as do claims procedures. So to help you better understand what the most popular cards bring to the table, WalletHub’s editors compared the 10 largest credit card companies’ price protection policies from top to bottom.
You can find the results of WalletHub’s review below. And if you’d like to learn more about the other secondary benefits that credit cards provide, check out our reports on extended product warranties, purchase protection, rental car insurance and more.
The best credit cards for price-protection benefits are:
|1||Capital One Savor Cash Rewards & Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards||81.00%|
|2||USAA American Express Cards & USAA Visa Signature Cards||80.00%|
|3||All Barclays Cards||78.50%|
Chase and Discover led the market in price protection from 2014 until earlier this year, when they removed the benefit.
* Issuers not represented in the chart do not have any cards offering the benefit. If only certain cards from an issuer are listed, it is because the rest of the issuer’s cards do not offer the benefit.
Only one-third of the largest issuers – Citi, Barclays and USAA – offer price protection benefits with all of their cards.
More than half of the credit cards with price protection provide coverage for 120 days.
57% of the cards that offer price protection limit claims to 4 per year.
USAA, Capital One, Wells Fargo and Citi are the most transparent about their price protection policies.
The Coverage You Can Expect
|Example of a Standard Policy||Best Policy|
|Sign Up||Not required||Not required|
|Coverage||Get a refund for the difference between what you pay for an item and a lower price advertised on:
Clothes and shoes
Electronics and computers
|Get a refund for the difference between what you pay for an item and a lower price advertised on:
Clothes and shoes
Electronics and computers
Jewelry and certain other purchases
Jewelry and certain other purchases
|Maximum Coverage per Item||$250 per eligible item||$250 per eligible item|
|Maximum Coverage per Year||Up to $1,000 annually per account||Up to $1,000 annually per account|
|Price Protection Period||60 days from the date of purchase||120 days from the date of purchase|
|Number of Claims per Year||4||No limit|
|Number of Claims Per Identical Item||No limit||No limit|
|Cards Offering this Type of Policy||USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa||Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards|
|Overall Rank||Card Name||Sign Up||Covered Items||Price
|T - 1||Capital One Savor Cash Rewards||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||15.00%||10.00%||81.00%|
|T - 1||Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||15.00%||10.00%||81.00%|
|T - 3||USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||10.00%||80.00%|
|T - 3||USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||10.00%||80.00%|
|T - 3||USAA Rewards American Express Card||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||10.00%||80.00%|
|T - 3||USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||10.00%||80.00%|
|T - 7||Mastercard® Black Card||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||8.50%||78.50%|
|T - 7||Mastercard® Titanium Card||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||8.50%||78.50%|
|T - 7||Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||8.50%||78.50%|
|T - 7||Barclaycard Ring Mastercard||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||8.50%||78.50%|
|T - 7||Mastercard® Gold Card||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||8.50%||78.50%|
|12||U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express||10.00%||26.00%||15.00%||15.00%||10.00%||76.00%|
|13||Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card||10.00%||26.00%||15.00%||14.00%||10.00%||75.00%|
|T - 14||Bank of America Cash Rewards||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||3.50%||73.50%|
|T - 14||BankAmericard||10.00%||26.00%||20.00%||14.00%||3.50%||73.50%|
|T - 16||Citi Premier Card||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|T - 16||Citi ThankYou Preferred Card||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|T - 16||Citi Double Cash||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|T - 16||Citi Simplicity||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|T - 16||Wells Fargo Visa Signature||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|T - 16||Capital One QuicksilverOne||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|T - 16||Capital One Platinum||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||15.00%||10.00%||71.00%|
|23||USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa||10.00%||26.00%||10.00%||14.00%||10.00%||70.00%|
The following cards do not offer price protection:
|All American Express Cards||All Chase Cards||All U.S. Bank Visa Cards|
|All Discover Cards||Bank of America Travel Rewards||Capital One Venture|
|Capital One Quicksilver||Capital One VentureOne||U.S. Bank FlexPerks Select+ American Express|
|U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card||U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express||Wells Fargo Rewards|
|Wells Fargo Platinum Visa Card||Wells Fargo Propel|
Ask The Experts
We took an even deeper look at the practice of price matching, turning to a panel of experts in the fields of retail and consumer studies for insights on issues ranging from the value of price matching for retailers to whether or not price monitoring is worthwhile to the consumer. You can check out the experts we consulted, the questions we asked them, and their responses below.
- To what extent is a price match guarantee an effective strategy for a retailer?
- Does leveraging a price protection policy (one that enables you to monitor and act on price changes after you buy) tend to be worth a consumer’s effort (e.g. price monitoring) when all is said and done?
- How do price match guarantees impact consumer habits?
The data used in this report are based on public disclosures regarding the price protection policies of the 10 largest issuers of consumer credit cards in the United States. Co-branded, student and business credit cards were not evaluated. Offers for which online applications were not available also were excluded. In situations where policies were incomplete or unclear, we requested verification and proceeded to update the report as needed.
Each individual card was scored according to the following criteria:
1. Sign Up – Worth 10% Total
- If there is no sign-up requirement = 10%
- If product registration is required but price reduction is tracked automatically by the company = 10%
- If there is a onetime sign-up requirement = 5%
- If there is an annual sign up requirement = 2%
- If each product needs to be registered and price reduction needs to be tracked manually by the consumer = 0%
2. Coverage – Worth 45% Total
A. Coverage & Exclusions – Worth 20%
- For each major category of items excluded from coverage, we subtracted 6%
- For each minor category of items excluded from coverage, we subtracted 2%
- Issuers are deducted a maximum of 20% points, even if their exclusions add up to more issuers only lose 20% points
B. Coverage Limit Per Item – Worth 15%
- $500+ = 15%
- $400 - $499 = 12%
- $300 - $399 = 9%
- $200 - $299 = 6%
- $100 - $199 = 3%
- Less than $100 = 0%
C. Annual Coverage Limit – Worth 10%
- $2,000+ = 10%
- $1,500 - $1,999 = 8%
- $1,000- $1,499 = 6%
- Less than $1,000 = 0%
3. Price Protection Period – Worth 20% Total
- 120+ days = 20%
- 90 – 119 days = 15%
- 60 - 89 days = 10%
- 30 - 59 days = 5%
- Less than 30 days = 0%
4. Claims – Worth 15% Total
A. Annual Claims Limit – Worth 5%
- 5+ claims = 5%
- 4 claims = 4%
- 3 claims = 3%
- 2 claims = 2%
- 1 claim = 0%
B. Claims – Worth 5%
- If filing a claim requires only 1) a product receipt, 2) a credit card statement and 3) either a dated ad OR a statement from a store documenting the details of the lower price = 5%
- If filing a claim requires a 1) product receipt, 2) a credit card statement, 3) a dated ad and 4) a statement from the store documenting the details of the lower price = 2.5%
- If filing a claim requires a 1) product receipt, 2) a credit card statement, 3) a dated ad, 4) a statement from the store documenting the details of the lower price, and 5) any additional documentation = 0%
C. Claims Limit On Items Purchased As A Set – Worth 5%
- 5+ items = 5%
- 4 items = 4%
- 3 items = 3%
- 2 items = 2%
- 1 item = 0%
5. Transparency Score – Worth 10%
A. How easily can one find the info? – Worth 3%
- Information is prominent on issuer website = 3%
- Information is not prominent on issuer website; or it is prominent, but users need to log in to see the full disclosure = 1.5%
- Information cannot be easily found on website = 0%
B. How easy it is to read the info? – Worth 1%
- Information is presented in normal-size font = 1%
- Information is in small-size font = 0%
C. How complete are the policies provided? – Worth 4%
- Full policy provided = 4%
- A couple of key points missing from policy = 3%
- Part of policy provided = 2%
- Benefits briefly described = 0.5%
- No key details provided = 0%
D. How open and transparent are card issuers about the policies? – Worth 2%
- Transparent about policies = 2%
- Not transparent about policies = 0%
Scores were determined based on our opinion of how each price protection policy compares to a theoretical ideal policy. An ideal policy is one based on common sense for which a consumer knows all of the most important information without having to delve into the fine print.
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