7 little-known facts about your credit card - No.3: Your credit card can protect your purchases

When you order something online, it never shows up. What was sent is not what you requested in the store. Your bill suddenly shows a charge that is not yours. Your credit card has your back, so don't worry.

Some consumer rights offered by credit cards can provide effective protection.

For instance, federal law limits a cardholder's liability for unauthorized charges made with a stolen or lost credit card to $50, yet the majority of issuers provide zero liability.

You won't be liable for any charges you didn't authorize, though, if you notify the loss before your credit card is used.

Also, the Fair Credit Billing Act enables consumers to ask their credit card issuers for a refund after making an unsatisfactory transaction.

The transaction must be made within 100 miles of your house, and the charge must be at least $50. Also, you should have attempted to first fix the issue with the seller.

Some cards provide return protection, coverage for lost or damaged goods, or extended warranties in addition to federal protections.

To find out what safeguards your card gives, check the terms and conditions. Sometimes, learning these lesser-known facts might help you avoid spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

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