So you’re going over your bank statement and find some problem charges on your debit card.
Maybe someone stole your account information and made fraudulent charges. Maybe the bank or one of the merchants made a mistake.
Whatever happened, it is scary to see that money has disappeared from your account. Fortunately, you can dispute debit purchases, though you need to move quickly.
Process for disputing a charge
When you find an incorrect debit purchase, you should report the problem to your bank right away.
Call the bank’s hotline first and tell them you want to report a mistake on your account. They may be able to handle everything by phone, but in some cases, they may ask you to send a letter describing the problem as well.
The bank will then investigate the issue and should make a decision within 10 days.
If they need more than 10 days, they will replace the money while they continue the investigation. If they change their minds, they’ll take the money back.
The whole investigation can take no more than 45 days.
“If your dispute is correct,
they will add the money back.”
Your responsibility for debit mistakes
It is important to check your bank statement regularly for mistakes on your account because you have a fair amount of liability.
If there is a mistake on your account, you need to report the problem fast.
If you report the problem more than two days after the incorrect charge, you may need to pay up to $500 out of pocket before the bank would cover anything.
After 60 days, the bank has no obligation to replace any money.
More protection from credit cards
Credit cards offer better protection against incorrect charges than debit cards.
If you discover an incorrect charge and report the problem within 60 days of the statement date, the most you would need to cover out of pocket is $50, and credit companies often do not even charge that.
That is a fraction of the $500 liability from your debit card. If you can, use your credit card or cash because they are safer to use than your debit card.
While the liability protection on your debit card has some problems, at least it’s there. When you discover a problem, it’s a relief to know you can dispute debit purchases.
Photo source: loyalty360.org