Purchase Protection: Which Credit Cards Will Refund a Price Drop?

by

We’ve all experienced the sucker punch feeling that comes when a newly purchased item drops in price the very next day. But thankfully, your credit card might have a solution. MasterCard, Discover and Citibank all offer purchase protection: if you buy an item with your card and its price falls during a certain timeframe, they’ll refund the difference. However, exclusions apply (of course). Read on for the details of each program.

Overview

All three programs have some basic exclusions, including pre-owned items, motorized vehicles and their parts, jewelry, living things, consumables and perishables, closeout or liquidation sales, travel and prices found at auctions (including eBay and the like). However, they have slightly different terms:

Citi Price Rewind Discover MasterCard Price Protection
Minimum price drop $25 None None
Maximum refund $250 per item, $1,000 per year $500 per claim, $2,500 per year $250 per claim, 4 claims per year
Timeframe 30 days 90 days 60 days
Other exclusions Guns and ammunition Digital downloads
BOGO and similar offers
Layaway
Source Citi Price Rewind Discover MasterCard

Typically, you have to submit the original receipt, your credit card statement showing the purchase, and a dated ad or a note from the manager on store stationery to prove the lower price. Also note that with Citi, you have to register your purchase on the Price Rewind website.

What does this mean for consumers?

Price matching is actually a pretty good deal. It means you can buy an appliance, laptop or other big-ticket item in early November, and then get a price match on Black Friday deals. You don’t have to wait in line for great prices. Now, that said, it’s not perfect. MasterCard and Discover put the onus on you, the consumer, to notice the price match and submit a claim, and while Citi can notify you if you’re eligible for  a price drop, you have to register your purchase on the Price Rewind site beforehand.

Price protection also excludes jewelry, cars and auto parts (including tires), so if you’re planning on stocking up on any of those items, you’re out of luck. The per-item claim limit, $250-$500, can also be a hassle for larger sales. Still, for all those caveats, it’s a great way for consumers to save money.

No annual fee credit cards with purchase protection

If you’re looking for a card to give you these perks, here are our top picks:

Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® - Earn 1x on All Purchases
Barclays No-Fee Arrival Credit Card
Apply Now

on Barclays's
secure website

starstarstarstar
  • Start by earning 20,000 bonus miles when you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 20,000 bonus miles equates to $200 off your next trip!
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining purchases,1X miles on all other purchases, and no mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 10% miles back when you redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back)
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more
  • Complimentary one year subscription of TripIt Pro mobile travel organizer – a $49 value
  • Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active card members. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
thumbsupPros
  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0 Start by earning 20,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 20,000 bonus miles equates to $200 off your next trip! 14.99% or 18.99%* (Variable) 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  • sactownhero

    “Price matching is actually a pretty good deal. It means you can buy an appliance, laptop or other big-ticket item in early November, and then get a price match on Black Friday deals….”

    Um, two of the three programs have $250 limit (Discover’s is $500). Which “appliance” are you talking about? A toaster? smh

    • Spectrality

      The $250-500 limit is for the REFUND, not the price of the item. Most appliances aren’t going to drop by $250 or $500, though maybe a couple will on Black Friday. Maybe.

      • sactownhero

        Thanks for the clarification. I have a Mastercard and read over the price Protection program terms and discovered the program does NOT cover “Items advertised in or as a result of “limited quantity,” “going out-of-business sales,” “closeouts,” or as “discontinued.” That’s going to wipe out MANY Black Friday specials!

  • anthony

    Items advertised in or as a result of “limited quantity,”“going out-of-business sales,” “closeouts,”or as “discontinued