The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, September 20, 2021

Best Credit Cards For Purchase Protection in 2021

Best Credit Cards For Purchase Protection

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: May 18, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

If you find peace of mind in short supply, check out our rundown of the best credit cards for purchase protection. It, along with other consumer-oriented benefits like price protection and extended warranties, can save you money on items you purchase with your card.

While purchase protection doesn’t receive the same attention as flashier benefits, you’ll be exceedingly grateful to have it if you ever experience theft or damage to a recent purchase. Unfortunately, many credit cards no longer offer purchase protection, and those that still do vary in their coverage.

Usually, you need to have a good credit score and credit history from a credit bureau to get one of the reviewed credit cards, and you’ll seldom find a secured card that offers purchase protection. If the lack of purchase protection has you feeling a little exposed, read on to see how four major credit card issuers offer a modicum of confidence in this uncertain world.

Chase | Capital One | Amex | Citi | FAQs

Best Chase Cards With Purchase Protection

Chase’s purchase protection program replaces, repairs, or reimburses eligible purchases that are damaged, lost, or stolen during the 120 days following the date of purchase. The protection covers items purchased with a Chase card as well as those obtained by redeeming rewards. Protection covers both cardholders and those who receive gifts purchased by cardholders.

Chase’s coverage is limited to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. You must notify the credit card issuer within 90 days of the item’s theft, damage, or loss, and then file your purchase protection claim within the 120 days following purchase. For stolen items, you must also file a police report within 48 hours of the incident.

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers the standard purchase protection benefit in which you must notify Chase within 90 days and file a claim within 120 days of a covered loss. Coverage extends to items purchased outside the United States. If you have other applicable insurance, Chase’s purchase protection covers any deductible.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

You receive the standard purchase protection benefit with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ rewards credit card, featuring a maximum coverage of $500 per purchase and $50,000 per account. The purchase price of the item is the amount recorded on the receipt. It’s good to know that gifts you obtain with the Chase Freedom Flex card or with bonus point rewards are covered by the protection plan.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

As you would expect, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card travel credit card also comes with the standard Chase purchase protection benefit. To claim your benefit from this travel rewards card, you’ll need to provide a Chase purchase protection claim form, a monthly statement demonstrating the purchase, an itemized store receipt, documentation of any settlement of the loss, and if the item is reparable, a copy of the repair estimate or receipt. You can file your claim online at www.eclaimsline.com for faster service.

Best Capital One Cards With Purchase Protection

As Visa Signature cards, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offer cardholders and gift recipients the standard purchase security benefits for Visa Signature cards issued in the United States. Visa purchase security covers the repair, replacement, or reimbursement of eligible purchases due to theft or specific types of damage within the first 90 days after purchase.

Coverage limits are $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder. Coverage kicks in only after that provided by insurance or indemnity and is based on the receipt price.

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business was a Visa card until the end of 2020, at which point it transitioned to Mastercard. As a World Elite Business Mastercard, the purchase assurance limit per lost or stolen item rose from $500 to $10,000. The lifetime lime remained at $50,000 for all combined purchases.

Otherwise, the Mastercard purchase assurance benefit is virtually the same as the Visa purchase security program.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card provides standard Visa Signature purchase security, up to $500 per item and $50,000 per cardholder. Once you file a claim, you have six months from the date of loss or damage to prove your case and collect payment. You are not covered if your credit card account is suspended or canceled.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The purchase security benefit from the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card matches that of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You are covered up to $500 per item and $50,000 for your account, but only after other insurance is claimed and paid. To file a claim, you’ll need a store receipt, police report (filed within 48 hours of loss), documentation of any other settlement, and a copy of your primary insurance Declarations Page.

6. Capital One Spark Cash for Business

This card is currently not available.

Capital One® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business became a World Elite Mastercard for Business in 2020, improving the purchase assurance limits to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per account. In other respects, the benefit matches that offered for Visa Signature cards. The many benefits provided by this Spark card make it a favorite among small business owners.

Best American Express Cards With Purchase Protection

American Express offers purchase protection on most of its cards. Eligible purchases made on a participating card by authorized users are covered for 90 days from the date of purchase.

Credit card protection for a purchased item covers incidents of theft or damage (due to accident or vandalism) for any eligible item purchased worldwide. The maximum benefit per covered purchase is $1,000 ($500 if the covered event was a natural disaster) and $50,000 per card.

You have 30 days from the incident to file a claim, either at americanexpress.com/onlineclaim or by calling 303-273-6498. Once the claim is filed, you have 60 days to submit proof of loss documents that may include copies of the sales receipt, relevant insurance, repair estimate or receipt, and a police report (filed before making a claim).

If your claim is approved, expect your payment (or replaced or repaired item) within 30 days. The benefit applies to the amount not covered by an existing agreement or credit card refund by the retailer. It includes any deductibles applicable to other coverage that does not result in an overpayment.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn up to $400 Back in the form of statement credits: Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back - plus, earn $200 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year on purchases (then 1%). Also earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • Earn 3% cash back on transit, including U.S. gas stations, taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
  • Access to Global Assist® Hotline - 24/7 medical, legal, financial and other select emergency assistance and coordination services
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR applies
  • $0 intro annual fee, $95 annual fee thereafter
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0 intro; $95 thereafter
Excellent Credit

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the issuer’s standard purchase protection coverage on eligible purchases. In addition, this cash rewards credit card comes with return protection of up to $300 per item that a seller refuses to take back within 90 days of purchase. It also provides extended warranty coverage on eligible purchases as well as other credit card protection features.

American Express® Gold Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 6 months of card membership
  • Earn 4X Points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases. Also earn 4X Points on restaurants, 3X points on flights when booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed and other participating partners. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees, like checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline to your Gold Card account
  • $250 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$250
Excellent

You receive standard purchase protection coverage when you get the American Express® Gold Card. Coverage limits are the familiar $1,000 per item and $50,000 per card. Eligible purchases combined with Membership Rewards points or Pay with Points are covered by the benefit. Note that the benefit can be canceled due to alleged criminal activity, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and abusive or excessive claims.

The Platinum Card® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CATEGORY RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 10X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases on your new Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com. Earn 1X points on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
  • $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $25 monthly Equinox credit, $15 monthly Uber cash credit, $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, and more.
  • Platinum Card Members have unlimited complimentary access to all locations of The Centurion Lounge
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A (Charge Card)
$695
Excellent

It’s no surprise that The Platinum Card® offers the standard American Express purchase coverage. Your coverage will be terminated when your card is canceled or you otherwise are no longer a cardmember. However, you are still covered up to the date of benefit cancellation. The effective date for the latest version of this benefit is January 1, 2020 (October 1, 2020, for New York State cardmembers).

Best Citi Cards With Purchase Protection

Several Citi credit cards come with damage and theft purchase protection for 90 days after the date the item was purchased or delivered (whichever occurs first). You must pay, at least in part, for the item with a Citi card and/or Thank You Points.

The coverage limit per incident is the lesser of $10,000 and the amount charged using the card or bonus point rewards. The maximum coverage per calendar year per account is $50,000, which is a better deal than the lifetime cap imposed by Chase, Capital One, and Amex, an important factor for a creditor contemplating a large purchase or two with a rewards credit card.

You should file your claim with Citi as soon as possible after the theft or damage occurs. You can file a claim by calling 866-918-4670 or visiting www.cardbenefits.citi.com to download a claim form.

You have 180 days from the date of the incident to return all the required documents to Citi. Theft incidents require that you file a police report.

10. Citi Prestige® Card

This card is currently not available.

Citi® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Citi Prestige® Card packs the standard purchase protection coverage for authorized card users. Benefit coverage does not include any purchases made via gift card from redeemed ThankYou Points. This travel credit card also provides cellphone protection and extended warranties.

Citi Premier® Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit - Enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, through thankyou.com, once per calendar year
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

No surprises here — the Citi Premier® Card offers the standard purchase protection coverage available to most Citi credit cards. Note that this card’s purchase protection coverage survived the removal of many benefits from other Citi cards in September 2019, including various types of travel insurance and shopping perks (e.g., Citi Price Rewind, Return Protection, and Missed Event Ticket Protection).

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Elevate your status and reach elite benefits by earning EQMs. Plus, enjoy an Admirals Club® membership (a value of up to $650).
  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • With dedicated concierge, enjoy access to a staff of experts for help with foreign and domestic travel, shopping, dining, household, and entertainment needs
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit plus 25% savings on eligible in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$450
Excellent

You’ll be happy to know that the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is among Citi’s chosen few that still offers purchase protection. The primary protection extends to 120 days after theft or damage instead of just 90 days. Coverage from this travel rewards card is secondary for New York residents and extends for 90 days.

What is Purchase Protection?

Purchase protection is a credit card benefit that replaces, repairs, or reimburses cardholders for damaged or stolen items that were charged to their card or purchased with rewards.

Photo of a TV fallen off a stand

Purchase protection covers damaged, lost, or stolen goods purchased with your credit card for up to a certain period.

Not all credit cards offer purchase protection, and some credit cards that once offered it have stopped doing so. It’s sometimes hard to know whether your card offers purchase protection because the benefit may be tied to the payment network rather than the credit card provider. Your best bet is to call a customer service rep to get the skinny.

How Does Purchase Protection Work?

Purchase protection, when provided by your credit card, can be used to reimburse you for the loss or damage to an eligible item purchased with the card or with its rewards. Each card issuer decides whether to offer this benefit and the extent of the coverage.

If you buy something with your card that gets damaged or is stolen within a certain period after an eligible purchase, purchase protection will replace, repair, or reimburse your purchase. You must file a claim and submit documentation within specified time frames.

Coverage is limited to the price paid for the eligible item and subject to incident, annual, and/or lifetime caps. The cap per incident is frequently $500, but some credit cards set the limit at $10,000. Normally, the lifetime cap is $50,000.

Most purchased items are eligible for protection. However, there is a long list of items not covered by this benefit. The exclusion list from American Express is typical and includes:

  • Animals and living plants
  • Antiques and collectible items
  • Any motorized vehicles and their motors, equipment, or accessories
  • Broken items, unless damage is the result of a covered occurrence
  • Computer software
  • Items damaged as a result of weather other than lightning, wind, hail, rain, sleet, or snow
  • Items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use
  • Items stolen from automobiles and other vehicles, or common carriers
  • Items that are lost or that mysteriously disappear
  • Items under the care and control of a common carrier
  • Items baggage unless hand-carried and under your personal supervision, or the supervision of a traveling companion whom you know
  • Theft or damage resulting from abuse, fraud, hostilities of any kind
  • Product defects
  • Theft or damage resulting from misdelivery or voluntarily parting with the property
  • Medical equipment
  • Perishables, consumables, and limited-life items
  • Real estate and related items
  • Rented or leased items
  • Traveler’s checks, cash, tickets, credit or debit cards, and any other negotiable instruments
  • Used or pre-owned items

The actual list of excluded items varies by issuer, so check the fine print and/or speak to a customer rep to see whether you are covered for a specific loss.

How Do I Claim Credit Card Purchase Protection?

The first step is to contact the credit card company. Here is a summary of the contact information for the four reviewed issuers:

Purchase Protection By Issuer

It’s a good habit to file away your purchase receipts because you’ll have to provide proof of purchase when documenting a claim. If you don’t have the receipt, use the appropriate credit card statement that shows the eligible purchase transaction.

You may also need to show a repair estimate/bill for damaged items or a police report for stolen items. Another piece of required documentation would be any insurance or indemnity policy that covers the same item.

Which Credit Card Has the Best Purchase Protection?

For our money, we think that Citi offers the best purchase protection among the four reviewed issuers. While the others generally limit the credit card refund to $500 or $1,000 per incident, Citi’s cap is much higher — $10,000. Moreover, the $50,000-lifetime cap on combined purchases enforced by the other three issuers is the annual cap for Citi, which has no lifetime caps.

We also like that Citi gives you 180 days to complete the claims process. That’s double or triple the time allowed by other credit card companies.

Of course, if you know the credit card market, you understand that Citi offers excellent credit cards that are popular for many reasons beyond purchase protection, with everything from balance transfer deals (a balance transfer fee will apply) to no foreign transaction fee to high credit limit options.

Do Visa Debit Cards Offer Purchase Protection?

Here is the official word from Visa:

Purchase security will replace, repair or fully reimburse you up to a maximum of $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder for eligible items purchased entirely with your Visa Debit Card for the first 90 days from the date of purchase in the event of theft or damage due to fire, vandalism, accidentally discharged water, or certain weather conditions.”

This information applied to Visa debit cards as of April 1, 2017, and we’ve seen nothing to suggest that anything has changed since then.

Is Credit Card Purchase Protection Necessary?

For many consumers, purchase protection is more of a nice-to-have feature than a true necessity. The $500 cap per item on most credit card purchase protection programs means that the reimbursement or statement credit you may receive on a lost or stolen item will not make much of a difference in the long run.

However, the $10,000 limit on Citi cards is a different story, and that’s enough coverage to make a big difference to your budget. Bear in mind that if you own an insurance or indemnity policy that covers the loss, a credit card purchase protection plan may not cover anything beyond the deductible. Most renter and homeowner policies provide purchase protection that is at least on par with the credit card offerings.

The FBI statistics for 2019, the latest year available, indicate that there were about 7 million property crimes nationwide that year. That number is down from the previous year. Still, the price tag on these crimes (excluding arson) amounted to $15.8 billion.

We’re sincerely sorry if you were part of these statistics and understand why you may value credit card purchase protection more than the average consumer does.

In truth, protection plans present no real downside for the several reviewed cards that charge no annual fee. Even on cards with the fee, the issuer’s cost to provide protection plan coverage is probably quite low, given the caps in place and the potential ignorance many cardholders have concerning this benefit.

In other words, purchase protection, as well as price protection and extended warranty coverage, is generally useful when you need it, especially after a large purchase.

Research the Best Credit Cards For Purchase Protection

Our review of the best credit cards for purchase protection reveals more uniformity than differences. All the cards are designed for consumers with good credit — there isn’t a secured credit card in the group.

The biggest standout is Citi — its large $10,000 cap per item is a welcome bonus compared with the standard $500 or $1,000 cap. If you don’t have other insurance that provides this benefit, purchase protection from your credit card is a worthwhile perk that you’ll be glad to have should you ever need to use it.

Advertiser Disclosure

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