Forgot To Make A Holiday Return? These Credit Cards Can Help

Photographed by Atisha Paulson.

At more than two weeks into 2018, you may be running close to the deadline to return party outfit duds, the just-because gifts to yourself, and splurge items you bought in a holiday fugue state.

The return policies for unwanted items vary widely by retailer, but generally, you can expect a 30-day grace period. If you felt too lazy/unmotivated/on the fence to make it back to the store or put the return in the mail in that window, you may still have the option of getting a refund. This is an unexpected place where credit cards can come in really handy.

Some major credit card retailers offer return protection or return assistance — refunds on purchases made with that card — even after the refund window has closed. Per Nerdwallet, filing a claim for that refund may require: a receipt, your credit card statement showing that purchase, a copy of the store's return policy, and documentation from the store acknowledging that they are refusing to accept the item.

This perk has several qualifiers. First, many credit card issuers have rolled back on the protection partially or completely. "They've been dropped as a universal benefit, first by Visa and then Mastercard – though certain Visa and Mastercard card issuers may still offer the perk," CreditCards.com explains, noting that Discover is also ending its return policy in May 2018.

American Express still offers return protection within 90 days of purchase ("up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per card account"); though, some items — including motorized vehicles, perishable items, computer software, and jewelry — are not eligible for refund.

Are you a frequent refunder? Check out WalletHub's list of the best cards that offer return-protection benefits (two Citi cards are at the top) to get the most bang for your already-spent bucks.

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