Know your rights
It's important to know your rights when using a credit card. Fortunately, there are a number of laws and rules that apply, that mean you're less likely to be left out of pocket should something go wrong. We've put together a handy breakdown of your credit card rights so you can easily find what you're looking for.
Understanding Section 75 – the credit card guarantee
When you spend on your credit card, you have some rights that don't come with a debit card – notably, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
The act states that a credit card must protect anything you buy that's over £100 (up to £30,000) for free. The reason being that if something goes wrong with your purchases your card provider is just as liable as the seller. So, whether it's a flight, laptop or a fitted bathroom, paying for it on a credit card will help you get your money back if something goes wrong.
The protection applies to all kinds of scenarios. It could be that the shop you bought it from went into liquidation and you didn't get your goods, or the airline you just booked your holiday with went bust leaving you having to pay for new flights. Maybe the item you ordered never arrived – or when it did it was faulty or vastly different from the seller's description.
There are a couple of conditions to bear in mind though. First, remember that cover only applies when you spend more than £100. Second, it must be a single item purchase. On the plus side, the law still applies for deposits paid on your credit card, so, pay for part of the item or service and you'll be protected for the entire amount (provided the total cost of the item is not more than £30,000). If things are a little complicated and you're unsure if you qualify for a claim, simply contact your credit card provider.
Section 75 protects credit card users on purchases of more than £100. However, if the item or service you paid for falls beneath this figure your credit card rights could extend to chargeback. Chargeback offers some purchase protection for a selection of debit cards, prepaid cards and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express).
While banks don't have a legal obligation to pay (as they do with Section 75), for participating banks it is part of the process they subscribe to. Chargeback applies mainly to faulty goods, or goods that are never received and you can make a claim within 120 days.
A safe distance
If you like to shop online (who doesn't?) then you'll be protected under Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013. These regulations protect you when you're shopping in store, on the internet or over the phone.
The regulations give you the right to clear information about the trader, the goods they are selling, their means of delivery and the price. It also entitles you to cancel your order, normally within fourteen days of receipt of the goods.
When you spend online, some credit cards come packed with extra protection against fraud – for example, both Visa and MasterCard have extra checks (in the form of Verified by Visa and SecureCode, respectively). What's more, if you do become a victim of fraud, just notify your credit card company to get the issue resolved – unlike with a debit card, where the money will just disappear from your account, you should be able to recoup any money taken fraudulently from your account.