elizabeth / 25.04.2023

Wave Goodbye to Freebies part 5 of Financially Free in 23

The pandemic forever changed our lives. It changed the way millions of people make and spend money.

One of the biggest challenges many face today is the uncertainty of various debt forgiveness programs and moratoriums the federal government enacted. To you I say, pay your debts now and get it over with. It’s going to cost you one way or another. Remember that a debt “forgiven” will ultimately be recovered through increased taxes, interest rates, costs of goods and services, etc. The moratoriums issued, such as the one for student loan payments, postponed payments. They did not always stop the accumulation of interest. They did not make the debt go away.

Nothing is ever truly free. This has been true since the beginning of man. Once Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, they had to toil by the sweat of their brows for their sustenance. Yet, we’ve grown accustomed to having a plethora of “freebies” – otherwise known as “benefits”.

Another challenge facing consumers today is the recension of many “free” benefits. I recently received three email notices of changes to benefits for various services and accounts that I have. One of them was from a MasterCard that I use for online purchases. Probably like you, I usually just click my delete icon without bothering to pay attention to the change. I can’t do anything about it anyway. Right? But because I’ve received so many notifications of changes recently, I decided to actually open the email and read what changes were taking place.

This particular MasterCard notified me that three of their benefits for card users, purchase insurance, master rental waiver and worldwide automatic travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance, and trip cancellation interrupted insurance will no longer be available as of a certain date. No big deal, right? Not necessarily.

Now in and of itself this notification may not seem too bad because I haven't rented a vehicle recently nor have I done any traveling over the last year-and-a-half. But when I did travel a lot, I counted on these insurances in the event of an emergency. I actually used this benefit once when I went to conference in Orlando, Florida but my luggage went to Miami. The conference was over by the time my luggage caught up with me, so it was nice to have this small baggage delay insurance benefit to help cover the costs of the things I had to purchase in order to get through the conference.

The loss of the purchase insurance benefit is the one that really scares me. Probably like you, I've made increasing numbers of online purchases since the pandemic started. I used this particular MasterCard with the confidence that if there was ever a problem with a purchase, I would be able to get a refund and have the problem made whole.

So why are these seemingly free benefits no longer going to be available? The answer is because they never were free! The company that provides the insurance protection to MasterCard for these benefits charges for them. The costs have increased so much since the pandemic started in early 2020 that it is no longer cost effective for this particular MasterCard to provide them to their customers without increasing fees, interest rate, or a combination.