Card payments are the norm at a time when digital transactions are being promoted and encouraged by the government. It not only saves you from the trouble of carrying cash with you at all times but is also a lifesaver in times of urgent and unforeseen money requirements.
Further, most of us have the habit of carrying all their bank cards, including government-issued identity proof cards in a single wallet. This exposes us to the risk of losing access to all the emergency funding when the wallet is lost or stolen. A card protection plan is designed to fit our needs in such circumstances.
What is a card protection plan?
Card Protection Plans are now offered by all leading retail banking players in the country including SBI, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, etc. It is a comprehensive service that protects one's debit or credit cards and also government-issued ID like Aadhaar, PAN or driving license, in situations of theft, loss, fraud and other emergencies.
The benefits and annual fee charged for the cover depends on the service provider, the protection plan you choose from and the number of family members included in the plan.
The working of the plan is similar to that of an insurance cover-
- you need to renew the plan every year to keep it active
- claims could be rejected if the theft or fraud or loss of card/wallet was due to personal negligence
Services provided under card protection plans
- One call to block all cards: You do not have to take the responsibility of contacting each cash issuer individually. You just need to call the dedicated toll-free number of the service provider and it will be their responsibility to get them blocked. Some plans also protect your mobile phone and will provide assistance with blocking the SIM card.
- Travel assistance: If you are out of town, loss of your wallet will leave you paralyzed. With the card protection plan, you will get assistance on any pending hotel and air ticket payments. The facility varies based on the service provider and plan you opt for. You will have to understand the extent of coverage your service provider will give in terms of international travel and limits on the amount provided before you opt for the plan. Most emergency cash assistance will be provided only for travel within India.
- Card/ passport replacement assistance: Apart from blocking the cards, the bank will also help with the documentation and other procedure required to replace lost cards and identity proof, including passport. The passport replacement service comes handy if it was lost during your travel abroad. The bank will assist in getting the required paperwork done to fly you back home.
- Fraud protection: Between informing the bank authorities of the loss of your card and actually losing your wallet, your cards could be misused. The card protection plan begins the cover around 15 days before the loss report. The cover is for frauds like phishing, skimming and counterfeiting. The extent of cover provided on the fraud depends on the plan and service provider.
- Valuable document registration: You can securely store data about your cards (debit or credit), government-issued IDs, insurance policies and mobile phone identifier (IMEI) registration service under the plan. At the time of loss of any of these, one toll-free call to the bank will gain you access to the information to block them or even track your phone.
Should you opt for the plan?
Card protection plans are ideal for people who use and carry a lot of cards as well as travel more frequently. Before making any commitment, you need to check if your plan covers your needs like loss of wallet at an international trip and how much cover will be provided.
Further, if you are frequent traveller, you could also compare the CPP with travel insurance cover. Check if travel insurance is a better deal in terms of possibilities covered and premium charges. Make the necessary comparison to make a decision. Generally, CPP will be cost-effective considering the time period that it covers and fee.