What would you do if you lost your credit card? Or had it stolen from you? Or discovered that somehow it had been used without your authorization? In any of these situations, it’s important to tell your credit card company right away.
Informing the credit card company that you no longer have the card, or that you have lost control over it, immediately ends your liability if it is improperly used in the future, so act quickly! (This is the relevant section of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act that applies here.) You can do this by telephone, but you may want to follow up with a written statement. Keep a copy of your communication and the way you delivered it so you can prove that you advised the company of the card loss. Once you notify your credit card provider, it becomes the responsibility of the credit card company to ensure that it no longer approves any charges on your account.
Even if your lost or stolen credit card WAS used before you informed your credit card company, you may not be liable for all the fraudulent charges. If your card was used:
- Not at an ATM, you are responsible for a maximum of $50.
- With your PIN and at an ATM, you are responsible for the entire amount.
So, to protect yourself from someone else fraudulently using your credit card, remember these three things:
- Always keep your PIN 100% secret and difficult to guess.
- Regularly check your credit card statement for unauthorized charges.
- Immediately notify your credit card company if your card goes missing or is used without your authority.
If you are curious to learn more about this topic, check out blog posts listed below.
Using your credit card for online shopping? Get these tips!
How to request a refund from your credit card provider
Were you signed up for a credit card without being fully aware of it? Here are your rights
10 thoughts on “Are you liable for charges on a lost or stolen credit card?”
Banks should be responsilble even for ATM use with a pin, as they are the ones that make it impossible to create a secure pin.You are limited to only 4 numbers, which is ridiculous in this day and age.
Hi Jen — Your liability depends on whether the card was used at an ATM or not. Why don’t you contact us (1-888-564-9963 or firstname.lastname@example.org) — once we figure out a few more details, we’ll see if we can help find a solution!
My credit card was stolen and used somehow with my PIN, despite me never writing it down anywhere. My bank is shifting the blame on me, as their credit policy states the cardholder is liable for all transactions used with a pin. The Government of Canada website also states that a bank may not cover liability if a pin was used so I’m now starting to lose hope. Is there a way I can find out if I should only be responsible for a maximum of $50?
Does the card holder liability, also pertain to VISA DEBIT transactions? If so, how does one get their money back?
Hi Dianna, thank you for your question. Have you already contacted the bank? Since visa debit cards act like Visa in certain transactions, we believe that it falls outside of our law. If you’ve already contacted the bank and still having issues getting your money back, you may want to contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). Their contact information is here.
With the preponderance of skimmers and prevalence of cameras, keeping your PIN secure is next to impossible as well. Ironically tap may help in that regard, since there is no PIN to skim or video. But still, it seems ridiculous that you are held liable for the entire amount without establishing whether you divulged your PIN willingly.
It looks unfair to the banks to pay the cost of negligence of the customers by allowing their belongings to be stolen. If a bank customers keeps the card and PIN in one place, is it bank’s fault? Unjustifiable Act!
Hi Dr. Othman, thanks for your comment. Criminals can gain access to PINs and credit card information without consumers’ belongings being physically stolen. For example, this can be done through the use of “skimming”, where scammers use a small device to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate transaction. Technology exists that allows scammers to “skim” data contained on magnetic stripes, manufacture phony cards, and obtain PIN information. Many credit card providers have a zero-liability policy for unauthorized use of credit cards, meaning they will provide additional security features to deter fraud and eliminate consumer liability for fraudulent transactions. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, ultimately losses are recouped through increased fees administered by the financial institutions (banks). There’s a lot to know about different types of credit card fraud and there are multiple different ways that it can happen. Here’s a link from the Government of Canada that provides a more thorough explanation of credit card fraud as well as some tips to avoid it. I hope this is helpful to you and provides some insight into credit card fraud!
I recently became aware of approx. $8000 in charges against my corp visa from Qatar. I have never been to that part of the world and I have physical possession of my card. unfortunately this occurred in feb and are just being caught as a result of year end accounting . visa is saying I am out of time. do I have any recourse
Hi Brad, sorry to hear about your experience. As we mention in this blog post (How to request a refund from your credit card provider), credit card companies do have some time limit on providing refunds. Having said that, you may want to try contacting the credit card issuing bank and see if there’s anything else they might be able to suggest. Best of luck to you, Brad.