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Recently, notices were sent to American Express cardholders describing the new benefits of the Lost Wallet Protector Program (formerly the Credit Card Registry). Let’s explore this program, the cost, and if it’s worthwhile.

online-analytics-toolsWhat is the Lost Wallet Protector Program?
This is a courtesy service offered by American Express and other credit card companies to help and protect customers that lose their wallet, keys, passport, mobile phone, or other credit or debit cards. Essentially, American Express will help cardholders enrolled in the program by notifying the appropriate carriers related to any lost or a stolen personal items. Those enrolled in the program will only have to call American Express to cancel their cards or phones and may be eligible for insurance for any unauthorized charges.

How much does it cost?
As you might have expected, it’s not free, it will be $39.99 per year starting in 2012. This is probably another fee you don’t need to pay for but it could be worthwhile. Here’s why. The program includes fraudulent charge insurance of up to $5,000 on unauthorized debit and credit charges. This means that the insurance covers other cards too, not just American Express. This sounds appealing but it only makes sense if you don’t already have fraudulent insurance coverage for those other cards.

Another factor to consider is that the coverage extends to your spouse or domestic partner, and dependents under age 25. If they aren’t already covered, then this service may be worthwhile.

Are there any drawbacks?
This program is essentially an insurance policy which means that if you never use it, you’ll just be incurring a $40 fee each year without any return. In addition, the mobile phone coverage doesn’t cover unauthorized charges. If you read the fine print of the program it states, “American Express will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges, purchases or usage incurred when a mobile device is lost or stolen. This may be reason enough not to enroll as phones are often used as an entry point for fraudulent transactions.

More Personal Finance Questions? Browse answers or ask credit card debt questions online.

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