Credit cards offer consumers more than just a chance to buy things before they have all the cash in one place. In situations where the cardholder is wronged or taken advantage of, credit cards offer a certain level of buyer protection. This makes credit cards the ideal form of payment when you are working with vendors, contractors, and purchasing services that may or may not pan out to your expectations.
If you do use a credit card to pay for services, it gives you a little bit of leeway when it comes to paying off the purchase. There is usually a little extra time between when you pay the deposit and when your bill comes due, giving you some breathing room in case something goes wrong with the job or the purchase. That way canceling a payment is much more feasible than if you had written a check, or worst of all, paid in cash.
Although consumer protection is probably the biggest benefit of paying for various contractor and vendor services with a credit card, you are sure to see additional benefits. For one, you shouldn’t overlook the fact that rewards credit cards provide additional value with your purchases, giving you points or money back based on what you spend. Credit cards also provide excellent paper trails. With your billing statements available for download online, you can access your information anytime to get a handle on your expenses.
Regardless of whether you use a credit card to pay for these kinds of services or not, be sure to keep these important tips in mind when paying for a contractor, vendor, or some sort of purchase that could potentially go wrong:
- Credit and debit are not created equal. Look into your card’s policies on liability to ensure you are as protected as you think you are.
- Cash is the least safe way to pay. Once you give the provider a payment in cash, it’s gone. Even if they never come back to deliver what they promised, you have very little recourse other than getting a lawyer or going to the Better Business Bureau.
- Research your contractors and vendors prior to engaging in any kind of buying relationship. You are better off if you go into any situation fully aware of the company’s reputation and what you can expect based on other people’s experiences.
- If you do find yourself in a situation where youâve been duped or taken advantage of, donât hesitate to get in touch with your credit card. Time truly is of the essence and you want to report the substandard outcome prior to paying the credit card bill that contains their payment or deposit. Your credit card company should be able to assist you, especially if you have zero liability.
These are just a few tips to protect yourself in different buying situations. Remember, when used correctly, credit cards can truly empower you as a consumer.