What’s credit card protection?
If you’ve used your credit card to buy something that cost between £100 and £30,000, you're protected by your credit card company if the item is damaged or misrepresented and the retailer can’t (or won’t) do anything about it.
If you’ve bought something faulty, retailers and credit card companies have joint responsibility. That means the credit card company has to pay you back if the retailer doesn’t.
Even if you’ve only paid a small amount of the total price by credit card - like a deposit for a holiday - you’ll still be covered. This applies even if the deposit was under £100, as long as the total amount for the holiday is between £100 and £30,000.
This credit card protection falls under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, and it’s legally enforceable.
How much does it cost?
Protection is provided automatically when you get a credit card, so there aren’t any additional charges.
Section 75 also covers store cards, instalment credit agreements (like spreading the cost of your new TV over a period of months) and some car finance deals, as long the transaction is within the limits.
You can also claim for consequential costs, as well as the cost of the original purchase. An example of this would be claiming back money for alternative travel arrangements and accommodation if your flight was cancelled.
This protection doesn't extend to payments made by debit card, though.
Free credit card protection - why is it available?
Section 75 was introduced to the Consumer Credit Act in 1974. It states that credit cards must offer protection for purchases between £100 and £30,000.
This protection was put into place to stop credit card users having debt for something they never received, was broken or misrepresented.
Other types of credit card protection
Purchase protection is provided by some credit card providers to protect you if your goods are lost or stolen within a certain period of time.
This type of protection is only valid if you have no other insurance in place. So if your home contents insurance covers the loss, you’ll have to claim on that policy.
Identity theft cover is also offered with some credit cards, to protect you if someone steals your identity and uses your credit card.
Although it’s a bit of a sore subject, payment protection insurance (PPI) can cover payments for your credit cards if you find yourself unable to. Read more in our guide to PPI.
Chargeback is a type of protection that lets your card issuer reclaim money from the seller’s bank, to get you a refund.
Chargeback isn’t legally binding, but it usually covers you for amounts under £100.
If you buy something with your credit card using a third party, like Paypal, travel agents or Groupon, you won’t be covered under Section 75.
This is because the credit card company doesn’t have a direct relationship with the supplier, so it isn’t equally liable.
Section 75 also only applies to single items. For example, if you bought four £40 concert tickets for each family member individually, you wouldn’t be covered as the tickets each count as single transactions of less than £100.
However, if you bought a family ticket for £160, then you’d be protected as it’s a single transaction over the minimum amount.
Delivery charges and other costs don’t count towards the minimum amount.
As mentioned, it's important to remember that debit cards don’t have this type of protection. This is why many choose to buy expensive things, like holidays, on a credit card – it’s all about that protection.
By Amy Smith