The Consumer Lawyer

Know your rights: Lost/stolen credit and debit cards

I am always being asked what your rights are when you lose your debit or credit card or when they are stolen. Here’s the key points you need to know:

Debit cards

If you report any unauthorised transactions straight away, your debit card provider should refund you immediately. However, there are some exceptions to this rule: i) if your card provider can prove you either failed to take reasonable steps to protect your PIN number, or you were negligent in doing so; or ii) if your card provider can show that it is not in fact a genuine situation and therefore that you are acting fraudulently.

Credit cards

The situation with credit cards is slightly different as they are covered under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This law states that the most they will be responsible for is the first £50 of any unauthorised transactions made before you reported the card missing.

Contactless cards

Many people fall victim to a contactless card scam. This is where the fraudster is able to clone your card with a device and make contactless payments from your card details. If this happens to you, you will get your money back unless the provider can show that you were responsible for the payments. My own view is that contactless cards are a great concept but the security side is simply inadequate. Anyone can pick up a lost or stolen contactless card and make a payment under £30, without any checks. They are also too easy to clone with remote devices. In the circumstances, the card provider will always be liable if fraudsters spend your money using your contactless payment details, as they have failed to provide adequate security.

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