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Maximizing Your Visa Credit Card Core Benefits

visa_max_benefitsTo get the most of your personal Visa credit card you need to start with familiarizing yourself with the core benefits available on all Visa credit cards issued in the U.S.

As you may know Visa does not directly issue credit cards, only financial institutions with a Visa franchise issue credit cards. Visa manages the brand, operates a global network to clear transactions, maintains the most advanced security systems to protect all the parties involved in a credit card transaction and provides a myriad of other support services to its issuing partners.

However, Visa does provide a core package of credit card benefits that are available to all U.S. consumers using a Visa credit card regardless of the issuer. For consumers, Visa cards come in three octane levels: Regular (Traditional); Midgrade (Traditional with Rewards); Premium (Visa Signature with Rewards). Issuers can build on these core Visa benefits to give you even more benefits.

Visa offers six core benefits to all U.S. cardholders including: Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver; Emergency Card Replacement; Emergency Cash Disbursement; Cardholder Inquiry Service; Lost or Stolen Card Reporting; and Zero Liability.

1. Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

If you smash up a rental car or if someone rips it off the car, Visa has your back. This benefits provides collision and theft coverage on personal auto rentals. To activate coverage, complete the entire rental transaction with your Visa card and decline the collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage if offered by the rental company.

If you do not have personal automobile insurance this benefit reimburses you for the covered theft or damage. If you have personal automobile insurance that covers the theft or damage, then this benefit reimburses you for the deductible portion of your personal automobile insurance and any unreimbursed portion. Either way, besides the actual damage or loss, the benefit covers valid administrative and loss-of-use charges imposed by the rental car company, as well as reasonable towing charges resulting from covered theft or damage of the rental vehicle while it is your responsibility. Covered rentals periods are limited to 15 consecutive days in the U.S. and 31 consecutive days outside the U.S.

This benefit provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle as it was originally manufactured. Most private passenger automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles are eligible,

2. Emergency Card Replacement

God forbid if your Visa credit card is lost, stolen or damaged, but know that Visa is available 24X7X365 to fix this hassle. Simply call 1-800-847-2911 and Visa will work with you and your financial institution for approval and Visa will arrange direct delivery of your card to you or a collection location will be identified. It is a good idea to put the Visa phone number in your contacts list and make a list of all your credit card numbers and store them securely as this may help speed up the process. Visa credit cardholders can generally get a card replaced within one business day, or in some cases, within 24 hours, after approval.

3. Emergency Cash Disbursement

If your wallet is stolen or lost in the U.S., there is a better than 90% chance the cash will disappear. In many cases crooks or wallet finders take the cash and toss the cards. Again all Visa cardholders are entitled to this benefit that provides an emergency cash advance. Visa will arrange a convenient location for you to collect the emergency cash after approval from your bank. Simply call 1-800-847-2911 to start the process anytime day or night. Visa usually can get an emergency cash advance disbursed to you within one business day, or in some cases, within 24 hours after your bank okays it.

4. Cardholder Inquiry Service

If you need to get information about your Visa card account, benefits, product questions, service questions and more it is just a phone call away, You can reach Visa anytime from anywhere are rest assured someone will personally be available on the Visa end to help you. Language is generally not a barrier at Visa, as its staff can communicate in all major languages. Simply call 1-800-847-2911 to chat with Visa.

5. Lost or Stolen Card Reporting

Maybe you only lost one Visa card but have other cards to access and you do not need an emergency card or cash. Rest assured Visa will work with you to notify the appropriate parties and replace your card. Besides Visa and the issuers have a real stake in shutting your lost or stolen card down as quickly as possible. Just call Visa Global Customer Care Services at 1-800-847-2911 round-the-clock.

6. Zero Liability

This is the most extensively promoted Visa benefit, limited to U.S.-issued cards only. Visa protects your card information 24/7 and you won’t be held liable for unauthorized purchases made with your card or account information. If your account is compromised, Visa is committed to setting things right without further aggravation or inconvenience to you. Visa’s cardholder protection policy requires all financial institutions issuing Visa products to extend provisional credit for losses from unauthorized card use within 5 business days of notification of the loss. This benefit does not apply to ATM transactions, certain commercial card transactions, PIN or other transactions not processed by Visa. You must notify your financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. There is also other fine print with this benefit. For more details visit or call Visa Global Customer Care Services at 1-800-847-2911.

Like any benefits there are some caveats. For example, if your card is not in good standing with the issuer (late payments, over the credit limit, etc) you will likely lose your eligibility to access the Visa benefits or the extra benefits provided by your credit card issuer. This also generally applies to any rewards you may have earned with your Visa card. You may lose your rewards or have to pay a special fee to reinstate the rewards.

Not only should you keep your Visa credit card account in good standing to preserve benefits and/or rewards, but also keep a good portion of your credit limit available for emergency use. If your card is maxed out the emergency cash benefit may not be available. Also, the issuer may decline to replace your lost or stolen Visa card. As a bonus, keeping well under your credit limit will help your FICO credit score.

Like iPhone’s Siri, Visa’s knowledgeable representatives are available anytime from anywhere at 1-800-847-2911. After all — this a core Visa credit card benefit.

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