Before paying for home repairs with a credit card, ask this question
You might want to keep that credit card away when home repairs hit.
When my husband and I bought our house about 12 years ago, we knew we would be responsible for costs other than our monthly mortgage payments. And of course, over the years, we’ve spent our fair share of money on home repairs.
Recently we had to replace our air conditioner when it broke down in the middle of summer without warning. The cost was approximately $ 7,000.
My first tendency was to take out one of my credit cards and charge for that expense. Fortunately, I had the money in my emergency fund to pay this bill in full. But I figured I might as well use my credit card to get cash back from the deal.
Yet before handing over this credit card, I asked an important question. And the next time you’re faced with a home repair, it’s worth asking, too.
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Is there a discount for paying in cash?
It is common for merchants to charge consumers one price for cash payments and another price for using a credit card. Gas stations, for example, typically display prices per gallon depending on the payment method used.
Likewise, it is common for home repair companies to offer a discount for cash payments compared to a credit card. This is because the credit card companies charge them fees which can reduce their profits. If they are able to collect cash payments and avoid these fees, they are often willing to pass those savings – or at least some of them – on to consumers.
That’s why I made sure to ask if a discount on replacing my air conditioner would apply for cash payment. Even though I wanted my credit card points, my card only refunds me 1% on something like a home repair. And so if the company I used had offered me a 3% discount for paying in cash, that would have been the best bet.
In this case, there was no discount in my situation. So I used my credit card and got my money back to cushion the cost of this sudden and very expensive repair.
But the next time you are faced with a home repair, it pays to ask the question and see if there is a discount for paying cash. For a big repair, you could end up saving quite a bit of money.
It never hurts to ask for a discount
Chances are, you’re spending more on typical home repairs than on a restaurant meal or purchase at a local store. But even in these situations, it never hurts to see if there is a discount for paying with cash.
Normally, large companies do not offer one. But let’s say you have a dress altered at a local store. You can be quoted $ 80 for the job assuming you will be paying with a credit card. But if you’re willing to pay cash, the business owner may be willing to cut the price by a few dollars.
Credit cards are a convenient way to pay, but they cost businesses money. It never hurts to dig in and see if paying cash will mean a reduction for you, especially if you have an expensive home repair on your hands.