What is a credit protector program? Essentially, it allows you to suspend payments in your credit card for a while in the event of certain major life changes, like getting married, having a child, or getting fired. How sweet of them, right? Of course not. If you don’t watch out, you’ll get screwed in the end, which is exactly what the credit card companies are counting on. The main thing to pay attention to is the monthly cost of signing up for a credit protector service. Usually, they are free for the first 30 days, and after that you pay 89 cents a month for each $100 of the closing balance on your credit card. At that rate, your $20 bonus check will get eaten up pretty quickly.
How do I beat the system? I only sign up for credit protector for cards that I don’t really use. These cards are generally ones that I applied for solely to receive an opening bonus like Thank You points or frequent flyer miles. If you don’t use the card, you don’t incur any credit protector fees, but you do get to keep the nice bonus.
There isn’t a lot of fine print on the online offer page or on the gas rebate certificate itself. For example, it doesn’t say that you have to use the same card that you enrolled in credit protector to purchase the gas. It doesn’t say that you actually have to be the one to purchase the gas, either. The main way they try to make it difficult for you to get your $100 is by requiring that “receipts for purchase of gasoline and this certificate must be sent within 30 days of gasoline purchase and no later than December 31, 2006.” Personally, I do not spend $100 on gas in a month, so I am asking my boyfriend to save his receipts too. Still, I have a feeling it would be a problem to send in receipts with someone else’s name on them, so he’s going to pay cash for his gas.
This promotion expires at the end of the year, so sign up soon if you’d like to take advantage of this free money offer. As with all rebates, make sure to read all the fine print, follow their instructions exactly, and keep records of everything you mail in.
Photo by arbyreed