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Items that should be charged on your card

December 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Cash, credit, debit - holiday shopping is in full swing, but in tough times, more Americans are cutting up their cards to make sure their gifts are paid in full.

Just as there are some items you should never put on your charge card, there are others you should if you can pay it off on time.

First, big-ticket items like appliances or electronics should almost always be purchased with plastic. The reason? It makes you eligible for extended warranties.

Some card companies even offer price protection, meaning if you find what you've bought at a cheaper price, you could get reimbursed for the difference.

Using your card for travel could get you vacation perks, and your card company might offer you travel, car rental and lost luggage insurance.

Finally, if Christmas dinner is at your house, charging services like landscaping or construction could give you extra protection if the work is sub-par.

Merchants who accept credit cards agree to the terms set by the card companies. These companies can charge back disputed purchases if you've been cheated - protections and perks that could be worth thousands over your limit.

Before you swipe, beware: The average U.S. household carries $15,000 in credit card debt. If you pay the minimum, it will take you 36 years to pay it off and cost $23,000 in interest.


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