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What is credit card payment protection?

Credit card payment protection is an optional insurance program that allows you to put your card's minimum payments and fees on hold following certain life events.

Payment protection may help your credit card account remain in good standing - even when something unexpected occurs.

How does credit card payment protection insurance work?

Credit card payment protection is an insurance plan offered by your bank or card issuer. If you choose to opt in, you could be charged a monthly fee to participate.

If a difficult life event strikes - such as a job loss or a serious illness - you may activate your payment protection plan. The bank or issuer could then pause all of your card's fees and continue to report your account in good standing to the credit reporting agencies (CRAs).

Payment protection can help to preserve your credit health, but it may only cover your account for a limited amount of time depending on the nature of the life event and the terms of the issuer.

When do you need payment protection?

Payment protection may help you maintain your credit card account's good standing during unexpected life events. Many kinds of events are typically covered, although the coverage periods may differ (for instance, coverage for a disability is typically longer than coverage for a move). Your bank or credit card company may have specific guidelines on information or proof you may need to provide in order to use this type of protection. These are some of the life events that may allow your payment protection insurance to kick in:

  • Disability that prevents the covered person from working
  • Unplanned joblessness resulting in a reduction in income
  • A hospital stay of one or more nights
  • Divorce
  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • The death of a family member
  • A move to a new residence
  • Retirement

How are you protected with your credit card?

Some credit card payment protection plans provide benefits in two different categories: short-term and long-term.

Short-term payment protection benefits

In the short term, payment protection could cover life events like marriage, the birth of a child, a change in employment status or a move to a new residence.

Long-term payment protection benefits

Long-term benefits will generally last up to 18 or 24 months and are provided for life events that meaningfully affect a person's ability to earn money and make their credit card payments like the loss of a job, a disability or a hospital stay.

What doesn't credit card protection insurance cover?

Credit card payment protection insurance may not cover life events arising from criminal activity such as incarceration.

In addition, there may be certain exclusions depending on your payment protection plan's terms and conditions. For example, leaving work to pursue higher education may only be covered if it is employer sponsored (and thus deemed necessary for your continued employment).

Credit card payment protection

Credit card payment protection can maintain your account health following an unplanned life event. If payment protection is something you're considering, be sure to read the program's terms and conditions carefully so you understand what is covered and for how long.

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