What happens if you lose your ATM, debit or credit card and someone else uses it without your permission? Federal laws and bank policies limit your liability for unauthorized charges. However, it’s important to notify the card issuer of the loss or theft as soon as you discover it.
Your liability for unauthorized credit card charges depends on whether the unauthorized user personally presented your card to make a purchase, or made the purchase over the Internet or by phone.
- If the user personally presents your card to make a purchase, the card issuer cannot hold you liable for more than $50 in fraudulent charges. Many card issuers waive this $50.
- If the user makes a purchase with your card by phone or the Internet, you have no liability.
In either of the above situations, however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the card issuer’s policies and notify the card issuer as soon as you know the card is lost or stolen.
ATM and Debit Cards
With ATM or debit cards, the rules are different than with credit cards. Under the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act, your liability is:
- $0 if you notify the card issuer before any unauthorized charges are made.
- Up to $50 if you notify the card issuer within two business days after you realize the card is lost or stolen.
- Up to $500 if you notify the card issuer more than 2 days after you realize the card is lost or stolen, but within 60 days of the date when your statement is sent to you listing unauthorized charges.
- Unlimited if you fail to notify the card issuer within 60 days after your statement is mailed to you listing unauthorized charges.
As with credit cards, it is important to familiarize yourself with the card issuer’s policies and notify the card issuer as soon as you know the card is lost or stolen.
Provide the notice in writing. The law considers written notice to have been given when you deposit it in the mail or deliver it personally to the bank or card issuer.
If the Card Issuer Refuses to Reverse Unauthorized Charges
Unfortunately, card issuers do not always believe that charges on your statement were unauthorized just because you dispute them. In those cases, Banks may hound you for payment of the disputed charges, charge you interest and late fees, and even damage your credit score. Sometimes, litigation against the bank or card issuer is necessary in order to convince them to remove the unauthorized charges and keep your credit clean.
The consumer rights attorneys at DeBlasio & Gower are prepared to help you. They can be reached at (630) 560-1123 or via our website at http://dd-lawfirm.com/contact.php.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not legal advice and should not be relied on by anyone as legal advice in their particular situation. Furthermore, while DeBlasio & Gower LLC welcomes communications via its website, please be aware that communicating any information to DeBlasio & Gower LLC or any of its attorneys through its web site or via any other method without a formal engagement with the Firm does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between you (or any other users, senders or recipients) and DeBlasio & Gower LLC or any of its attorneys. For your protection, please do not send us confidential information until you have spoken with one of our lawyers and received authorization to send that information to our Firm. Thank you.