New App Helps Realize Hidden Credit Card Benefits

March 22, 2017
Hidden Credit Card Benefits

Most of us know whether our credit cards give us cash back or points or miles when we make purchases, but do you know all of the other benefits your credit card may give you, such as car rental insurance, extended warranties and trip cancellation protection?

A new app is here to sort all of that out for you and help you capitalize on the hidden benefits of your credit card. Sift is a free app that tracks the benefits on 90 percent of credit cards in the U.S., so you give it the information for all of your credit cards, and it tracks all of those benefits in one place. Whenever you make a purchase, the app can then show you all of the benefits that are automatically tied to that purchase. If you're due any money from those perks, Sift will automatically file a claim with the credit card issuer on your behalf so that you can get money back without having to go through a lot of hassle.

Sift does its magic on a myriad of benefits that are typical for most credit cards. One such benefit is automated price protection, which is a price monitor that gives you a refund if an item you bought is offered at a lower price within a certain amount of time. Sift will automatically try to get you a refund if your card has this protection.

Other common benefits include damage and theft protection, which is up to 90 days of coverage if high-value items, like cell phones, electronics or computers are stolen; free extended warranties on big-ticket items like televisions and computers; and extended return protection, which allows you to return an item to a store beyond the timeframe of the store's return policy.

"In our Beta testing, we have saved users hundreds of thousands of dollars and estimate users get back over 5% of their spend," said Abhinav Dubey, Co-Founder of Sift, in a statement. "This round of funding will help us grow our user base as well as continue to develop ways in which we can level the playing field for consumers."

With the release of the app, Sift also announced a $1.5 million seed round investment, which will help the company expand the app's capabilities into the myriad of travel-related benefits that credit cards offer, such as reimbursements for flight delays and lost luggage, as well as trip cancellation insurance. Some of this investment money has come from Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana's investment firm Liquid 2 Ventures.

"The Sift app has an opportunity to turn the credit card experience upside down," said Joe Montana, Managing Partner at Liquid 2 Ventures, in a statement. "Although everyone pays attention to the rewards and cash back on a card, Sift is bringing the hidden benefits front and center and building a new experience around this that can change the industry."

This app also taps into the Millennials' desire to have more transparency with their products. While credit cards aren't exactly hiding these benefits, they can be buried in fine print, making them more difficult to find. Sift seems like it'd be an incredibly useful tool, especially if you have multiple credit cards and want to figure out the best card to use for a particular purchase or use case. For example, I have a Citi Aadvantage card that I use as my primary card in order to get miles on my preferred airline, but it's not so great when I'm traveling outside of the country because it charges foreign transaction fees. If I want to avoid those, I have to remember to use my US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards card, which doesn't have those fees. I imagine Sift would be a handy reminder for this sort of benefit, which could potentially save me hundreds of dollars, if I spent a decent amount outside of the country.

Likewise, I've used my Citi card in order to get car rental insurance, and now I need to make a claim on a car rental where I had a flat tire. Was the Citi card the best option in my wallet? When Sift comes out with its travel options--and an Android version, as it's only available for iOS--I may find the answers to this and start using my credit cards more smartly.

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