This App Helps You Find the Credit Card Benefits You Didn’t Know You Had
When I think about tasks I’ll avoid at all costs, calling my credit card company is near the top of the list. Unless there’s a problem with my account, I’ll pass.
Also close to the top of that list is reading through that thick brochure of all the rules for my credit card. I know there are benefits in there, but that legalese and tiny print is intimidating. No thanks.
Like other apps that monitor your online orders and file claims on your behalf when they spot a price reduction, newly developed Sift also keeps an eye on price changes.
But this service goes beyond getting you refunds for price changes. It also helps you learn about your credit cards’ benefits, so you can save more money before those price changes come into play.
How Sift Helps You Save
Credit card rewards and benefits are “like an iceberg,” Sift co-founder Abhinav Dubey said. Rewards, like miles and points, are above the surface, often enticing us to sign up for a particular credit card. “People are aware of the benefits right under the surface, like price protection, but not about the benefits they’d use less frequently, like warranties, extended return windows, or reimbursement for flight delays or bag delays.”
When you add a payment method to the Sift app (available for Apple and Android), the app scans for recent purchases and places them into categories for shopping or travel. Then, it’s easy to see what benefits are available on each of those purchases.
You can also view benefits by card by scrolling through any credit cards you’ve added to the app. Sift lists benefits available from a variety of major credit card issuers.
For example, I booked a flight to see my family over Christmas. Sift shows me that the card I used to pay for the trip offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and travel and emergency assistance during my trip.
By tapping each of those protections, I can see how much coverage I’m entitled to and under what circumstances. If I have a problem during my trip, I can use the Sift app to find the right phone number or website to use to file a claim.
For travel protection, yes, you will probably have to speak to another human to use your card benefit. But for price protection? That’s automatic. All you have to do is tap the item where a price change has been detected, and Sift will file a claim on your behalf.
Not all cards and stores are connected to Sift and offer automatic, interaction-free claims, but as the company grows, it is adding to this feature.
Sift also recently launched price protection support for offline purchases. Scan the bar code of your item and the receipt, and Sift will track price changes for the same item online.
Education Beyond Instant Gratification
People tend to focus on rewards, like cash back or travel miles, Dubey said. “We want to change that,” he said. It starts with behavior, and Sift’s information about your credit cards and purchases can help you choose which card to use.
If you plan to make a large purchase, like an appliance, the store will probably offer you an extended warranty at an additional cost. “A lot of credit cards have extended warranty as a benefit, so why pay more?” Dubey said.
Sift has also released a web version of the app, which is ideal for the smartphone averse or those who can’t keep track of all their apps anymore.
I haven’t received any refunds or reimbursements yet, but I recently filed my first price adjustment claim through Sift. The app sent the initial claim, and I received an email instructing me to upload a copy of my credit card statement to my card issuer’s claim site a few hours later. Sift gave me the claim number I needed, and I didn’t need to log in beyond using that number. I finished my part in about three minutes.
But as I wait for my price adjustment, I do feel more educated about the cards I use for purchases, online or otherwise. I’ve used some credit cards for so long that I’ve forgotten about their benefits.
Sift makes it easy to understand those perks without having to look up that dreaded legalese.
Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.