What are credit card “add-on products?”

When you call to activate a new credit card or interact with credit card companies in other ways, such as through customer service inquiries, you may be routed to representatives who try to sell you things like “credit protection” or “identity monitoring” to add to your account. These services, or “add-on products,” are additional, optional services. These products will cost you money, generally through a monthly or annual membership fee. They may be sold by the bank itself or through a third-party vendor authorized by the bank to sell you the product. In some cases, the sales tactics may be high-pressure and confusing. In addition, the benefits you receive from the product may not match the benefits that you thought you were offered.


You don’t have to buy these or other extra products or services from the credit card company to activate your credit card.

It is a good idea to wait to purchase  any add-on product until you review the terms, costs and benefits in writing. When requesting written information, be clear that you do not want to enroll in anything until you have the written information and decide that you want to try the product. It is also a good idea to avoid “trial periods” until you have read the terms of the trial period in writing. The terms of some trial periods allow the company to begin automatically charging you for the product at the end of the trial period, unless you call or write to the company.

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