Even for a rewards junkie like me, the cash back, points, and miles aren’t always the deciding factor in which credit card I use for a given purchase. You also have to take into account the other benefits and the likelihood of using them.
When I’m making an expensive purchase which I think has a higher than normal chance of being lost, stolen or accidentally damage, I prefer not using my credit cards that come with MasterCard Purchase Assurance. While it certainly is better than what Visa offers, it’s not on par with American Express and here’s why…
Reason #1: Burden of proof for stolen items
If you look at the claim form’s rules you will see this part:
When you read this, it basically makes it sound like if you have an item stolen but there is no “evidence of a wrongful act” then the Purchase Assurance program will classify that as a lost item, which is something that’s not covered.
Hmm, if an item is stolen than isn’t the evidence (the stolen item) typically missing, too?! Unless someone busted down your door or smashed a window to steal it, it seems like producing “evidence of a wrongful act” would be difficult, don’t you think?
Contrast that to the American Express Purchase Protection. I called that department to ask if a burden of proof was necessary for their benefit, and they said other than a police report, no additional “evidence of a wrongful act” was necessary.
Reason #2: Those darn vermin!
For some peculiar reason, MasterCard sticks in the following exclusion:
- Damage caused by vermin
When I hear that word I typically just think of rodents, but according to the dictionary definition it encompasses any number of “obnoxious and objectionable” creatures, insects and small animals (wonder if those nippy toy dogs are considered vermin, because they sure are obnoxious).
While in all honesty I think it’s unlikely that something you buy with a credit card will be damaged by these pests during the first 90 days, I can envision many circumstances where it could happen (i.e. bedbugs in the city, small animals ruining outdoor items).
Reason #3: Items lost/damaged in transit
For anyone that shops a lot online, this should be a major concern. When UPS, FedEx, or USPS leaves a package at your door and someone swipes it, it doesn’t appear MasterCard will be picking up the tab:
And as you see above, even damage from shipping isn’t covered. This basically means the benefit is useless for shipping and if you don’t want to risk it, you will be forced to buy delivery insurance when you place your orders. For many this is probably the time they want this benefit the most!
But not all is bad…
Does the purchase assurance from MasterCard have its drawbacks? Absolutely. But at the same time, I should point out that I have heard from many people who shared positive reviews of using it. For example one guy had his computer go bad and after submitting a repair estimate (required by MasterCard) he received a check within two weeks for $800. So it’s still a great benefit to have, as long as you keep the exclusions in mind.
But ultimately, this same benefit (under a different name) through American Express is superior, in my opinion. I have used it myself and have had nothing but pleasant experiences with it. In fact, the last time I used it my Amex Blue credit card had a statement credit for the claim amount within just a matter of 5 or 6 days. Very fast turn around and thus far, I haven’t had to do any haggling to get them to pay up. Another advantage is that you can submit a claim form both online and over the phone.
What are your thoughts? Any experience with MasterCard benefit?