Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cardmember Benefits -- Visa Warranty Manager

Many of the major brands of credit card, like Visa, provide cardmembers with ancillary benefits. One often misunderstood benefit deals with extended warranty protection. But what does this service truly involve and how is it activated?

In the case of Visa, their Warranty Manager protection service is an automatic feature of the credit card, regardless of which bank issues the plastic. Details of the program are typically covered in the cardmember agreement, which is required to be sent to all approved applicants along when a new credit card is mailed. Basically, the service automatically doubles a manufacturers product warranty.

To take advantage of this service a consumer and receive the warranty extension, a Visa credit card cardmember only needs to use their Visa card to purchase an item that has its own warranty coverage. Then, the consumer needs to send in the warranty registration card that accompanies most items to activate the standard warranty. Once the item is out of warranty, typically beyond one year from the date of purchase, the Visa warranty kicks in for an identical period of coverage. If the item purchased breaks or is deemed defective during that extended period, Visa will credit the purchase price back to the consumers credit card.

What types of products are covered? Normally, those types of products that carry a standard manufacturers warranty, which include most electronics and small appliances. Also included, however, are larger appliances such as washer/dryers, plasma TVs and home theater systems. As long as you have a large enough credit limit to cover the purchase on a Visa credit card, and you take the time to register the product with the manufacturer, you should be eligible to receive the warranty extension.

These types of cardmember benefits are in fact insurance policies. The major credit card associations like Visa and MasterCard fund these policies as standard benefits of carrying their brand of payment card. The cost of the programs are then born by the issuers, who must pay fees back to the card associations in order to issue their brand of credit card to the public. But are they a good deal for the consumer? Absolutely. They clearly add value to the process of using a credit card for purchases and give the consumer added protection and flexibility should they not be satisfied with their merchandise.

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