Price Protection: Which Credit Cards Refund a Price Drop?

Seeing something go on sale right after you bought it can be maddening. But your credit card might bail you out.
Robin Saks Frankel
By Robin Saks Frankel 

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Seeing the price of something drop right after you buy it can be frustrating. But in some cases, if you used a credit card with a price protection benefit, you could get a refund of the difference.

It's a perk that's gotten harder to find over the past few years. Some issuers, such as Discover, have eliminated the feature entirely, and Citibank's Citi Price Rewind feature ended in September 2019.

Although Mastercard announced it was ending price protection as a standard perk across all of its cards as of July 2019, some issuing partners may choose to add or retain this benefit for specific cards.

Here's what to know about price protection.

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What is price protection, and how do I use it?

If you buy an item with a credit card that has price protection and you later find it advertised for a lower price within a certain time period, you can file a claim asking to be refunded the difference in price. (Things like taxes and shipping are not included.) The lower-priced item must match the item you purchased exactly — same model, manufacturer and year.

Unlike purchase protection or extended warranty coverage, price protection isn't typically automatic. Depending on the terms and conditions of your specific card, you may have to register the item for tracking, or monitor the price and file the paperwork yourself to get your refund. Some apps can help you with this.

Popular cards that offer price protection

Card issuers change benefits and terms frequently. Even if your issuer once offered price protection, it may have dropped or changed the policy. As of September 2020, some consumer cards with the benefit include:

With the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard, if you find a lower price on an eligible new item within 120 days from the date of purchase using the card, you may be reimbursed for the price difference.

With the Rakuten Cash Back Visa credit card, if you spot an identical eligible item for less within 60 days of your purchase, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item and up to $2,500 a year. (Ending July 16, 2021.)

The Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card offers price protection as follows: If you find an eligible item purchased with your card for less within 60 days of the original purchase date, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $250 per item and up to $1,000 a year.

Note that the list above includes only consumer credit cards; cards designed for small-business owners may feature price protection, as well.

For the most up-to-date information on your specific card, it's always best to check directly with your issuer via secure message through its website or app, or by calling the number on the back of your card. You can also check the terms and conditions booklet that came with your card.

Keep in mind that just because one of your cards may have this feature, it doesn't mean that your other cards — even if they're from the same bank — will also have it.

What to ask your issuer

If your card does offer price protection, here are some follow-up questions to ask:

How do I file for a refund?

Each card comes with its own rules for filing a claim. There is usually a time frame — typically anywhere from 30 to 120 days, depending on the card — in which the item's price has to have dropped or been found for sale at a lower price than what you paid. When you file a claim, you usually have to show proof of both what you paid and where the item is listed for a lower price, like a copy of a printed advertisement or a screenshot if you found it online.

What items are not eligible?

The price protection terms and conditions usually include a detailed list of items excluded from this perk. For example, something bought from an auction or a going-out-of-business sale may not be eligible for price protection. Most services, like an oil change or a haircut, also won't qualify.

Is there a limit to how much I can get back?

Reimbursement caps also vary by specific card. For example, the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card tops out at $250 per item and up to $1,000 a year.

How long do I have to file?

You may only have a specific time frame in which to make your claim before you're no longer eligible for a refund of the price difference. Delaying the paperwork on your end could mean you miss out on savings.

What is Paribus?

The free Paribus app functions similarly to — but is not the same as — price protection via a credit card. The app will scan your email inbox for receipts and notify you of any price drops at any one of the 30 or so retailers it monitors that offer a price adjustment policy. Although Paribus is owned by Capital One, it doesn't matter what credit or debit card you used to make the purchase, as Paribus is capitalizing on retailers' price protection policies, unrelated to any such policy your card may offer.

If you typically shop in-person and receive a paper receipt — and/or if you don't often shop at any of the stores Paribus monitors — you likely won't get much benefit from this service.

Information about the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.

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