Do You Know Your Credit Card Benefits? Research Shows Most People Don'tUpdated: March 21, 2019

Are you getting the most out of your credit card? According to a recent survey, probably not. A report from market research firm Market Strategies International says that 80% of credit card users aren’t familiar with all of the benefits provided by their primary card, and a majority of users only know a few features or none at all. That’s a huge shame, because card issuers are constantly adding new features to their credit cards to attract more customers, and even basic credit cards these days are often packed with extra perks. However, a credit card’s added perks aren’t always obvious, so after breaking down the research report, we’re going to look at some less-known credit card benefits, and tell you how you can find out all of your card’s features. To see how you can take full advantage of your credit card, keep reading.

What did the report say?

In addition to the statistic of most people not knowing their card features, the Market Strategies International report contained a number of stats about which credit card benefits people like. The most popular features were related to the financial value that credit cards bring, with a lack of an annual fee, cash back rewards and low interest rates topping the list. This makes sense, since credit cards are primarily financial tools, although credit cards with annual fees can actually bring a lot of value since some have additional rewards and bonuses that more than pay for the fee. Features with middling levels of popularity included ones geared toward functionality, security and convenience, such as identity theft monitoring, 24/7 customer service and 0% APR promotions. At the least popular end were situational benefits, exclusive offers and new technology, such as concierge services, access to special events and mobile apps. This category made up the majority of the features listed, which meant that half of the credit card benefits listed in the survey were of interest to only 30% or less of the consumers polled. The report concluded by warning credit card providers against “feature creep,” where card issuers offer so many benefits, their cards lose a distinct brand identity.

What are some obscure credit card benefits?

Most people are aware of financial credit card features like cash back and 0% APR promos, but there are a large number of credit card benefits that aren’t as well-known, even though they’re fairly common and useful. A lot of credit cards offer various consumer protection perks, which can protect the purchases you make with your card. For instance, if you buy an item with Chase Freedom, Chase will cover it against damage and theft for 120 days, and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card has ongoing cell phone protection as long as you use it to pay your mobile bill. Other cards, like the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card will insure your travel expenses, so if you lose your luggage or have to cancel your trip for a covered reason, you’ll receive compensation. When you’re renting a car, check to see if your card has car rental loss and damage insurance like the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) does, as it’s a frequent card perk and can make the additional insurance offered by most rental car companies unnecessary. Apart from that, some credit card providers like American Express, Citi (a NextAdvisor advertiser) and more include free FICO scores and travel assistance phone lines with their cards, and almost every major credit card issuer has $0 fraud liability protection, so you aren’t on the hook for any unauthorized purchases if your card gets stolen.

How do I find out my credit card benefits?

While credit card issuers advertise some of the perks their cards come with, there are very often at least a few benefits that aren’t mentioned in any promotional material. To find them, you’ll have to go to your credit card issuer’s website and poke around in a few different places. The first place to look is your cardholder agreement, as it will probably have the most comprehensive breakdown of every benefit your card has, along with copious details. However, cardholder agreements can be fairly long and technical, so if you find yourself getting confused while reading it, you can try to find if your credit card has a benefits guide available. Benefits guides are more consumer-friendly in how they’re written, and are divided into distinct sections for each feature. If your card doesn’t have one, you can check a credit card review website like the one you’re reading now, as we strive to inform people about credit cards with comprehensive breakdowns and clear descriptions of features.

Credit cards have a lot more utility than many people realize, and a credit card you’ve had for years can surprise you with features you never knew it had. To see more unexpected ways a credit card can help you, follow our credit cards blog.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.