Am I entitled to a refund if there’s a fraudulent transaction on my debit card?

You may not know that you are a victim of fraud until you see your debit card statement. So what should you do if you find a fraudulent transaction?

Generally, you are entitled to a refund if there is a fraudulent transaction on your debit card but like any financial product, you should read the terms and conditions before applying. Every card provider has a different criteria according to what you can claim. Most debit cards come with a zero liability guarantee which protects consumers against any fraudulent transactions.

A zero liability guarantee simply means that if you report the transaction as being unauthorised or fraudulent, the bank will halt the transaction and money will not be taken out of your account. You need to be careful and act quickly because sometimes the zero liability guarantee is valid for a limited time only and if you don’t report the problem within the allocated timeframe, you may not be able to do anything about it.

Debit card providers also monitor all transactions conducted on debit cards so that they can establish a spending pattern for your particular card. This allows them to identify transactions that seem out of place and they can often prevent fraudulent transactions since they will call you to confirm the payment. If you have no knowledge of the transaction, then it will not be approved and any money removed from your account will be refunded.

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    What is a fraudulent transaction?

    A transaction that is made on your debit or credit card without your authorisation. This may include cards that are lost or stolen, fake, not received or fraudulent as decided by a card company. This is not the same thing as a dispute with a seller; a fraudulent transaction is any transaction where the card was not used for its original intention, whereas a dispute refers to any transaction where the seller and the buyer disagree on an issue, such as the item not being the one the buyer purchased or the price being different to what was agreed originally.

    While putting in a claim does not guarantee a refund, this could be your best bet when other options have failed. Here are the steps to make the refund process as easy as possible;

    • Step 1 - Contact the merchant or website that is responsible

      You might have already done this, but the best way could be to contact the merchant or website itself. If the merchant cooperates with you, it could mean less hassle, especially if you tell them that you’re going to put in a claim with your card provider.

    • Step 2 - Gather your records

      If the merchant or website refuses to cooperate and you are entirely sure you’re the victim of fraud, then you can start to collect all the documentation between you and the merchant. This could include emails, receipts and physical goods to present this to your card provider.

    • Step 3 - Proof of counterfeit or damaged goods

      If you suspect that a product is fake, you may need to prove this. Log onto the product’s official website and find the list of authorised dealers - if the website or merchant is not listed, then you can show this to your provider. If the product is damaged, make sure you take a photo.

    • Step 4 - Call your card provider and put in a claim

      Your card provider should have a customer service line. It’s best to do this straight after you’ve realised you cannot get your money back any other way.

    Which number do I call if I've had my debit card lost, stolen, or I suspect a fraudulent transaction?

    Financial InstitutionIn AustraliaFrom Overseas
    AMP1800 033 844+61 2 8048 8249
    ANZN/A+61 3 8699 6955
    Arab Bank Australia1800 139 241+61 2 9959 7530
    Australian Military Bank (ADCU)1300 13 23 28+61 2 9240 4122
    Auswide Bank1800 072 111+61 2 9959 7884
    Bank Australia (bankmecu)132 888+61 3 9854 4666
    Bank of Melbourne1800 772 266+61 3 9982 4186
    Bank of Queensland (BOQ)1800 077 024+61 7 3336 2222
    Bank of Sydney1300 888 730+61 2 8262 9102
    BankSA1800 028 208+61 2 9553 5233
    BankVic13 63 73+613 9268 9373
    Bankwest13 17 19+61 8 9449 2840
    bcu1800 621 199+61 2 9959 7686
    Bendigo Bank1800 035 383+61 3 5485 7872
    Beyond Bank1800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    Big Sky1300 654 321+1 303 967 1090
    Cairns Penny Savings & Loans Savings(07) 4031 4460N/A
    Catalyst Money1800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    Citibank13 24 84+61 2 8225 0615
    Coles1800 005 809+61 3 9420 4818
    Commonwealth Bank13 2221+61 2 9999 3283
    Community First1300 13 22 77+61 2 9959 7480
    CUA133 282, 1800 648 027(Visa) or 1300 135 538 (Mastercard)1 410 581 99949 (Visa) or 1 636 722 7111 (Mastercard)
    Customs Bank131 728+61 2 9287 0888
    Defence Bank1800 648 027+1 443 641 2004
    DelphiBank1 800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    Easy Street1800 648 027 or (02) 9959 7480+61 2 9959 7480
    ECU Australia1800 383 791 or 1800 621 199+1 303 967 1090
    Encompass Credit Union13 13 61+1 303 967 1090.
    FCCS1800 648 027N/A
    First Choice Credit Union1800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    First Option Credit Union1300 855 675+61 3 9869 8700
    firstmac13 12 20+61 7 3017 8888
    G&C Mutual1300 364 400+61 2 9307 5400
    Gateway Credit Union1800 139 241+61 2 9307 4200
    Greater Building Society1300 651 4001-800-450-346
    Heritage Bank1800 076 037+61 7 4694 9139
    Horizon Credit Union1300 366 565+61 2 8299 9101
    HSBC Australia1300 308 008+61 2 9005 8187
    Hunter United1800 621 199+61 2 4941 3888
    Illawarra Credit Union1800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    IMB133 462+61 2 4298 0111
    ING133 464+61 2 9028 4077
    Intech Credit Union1800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    Macquarie Bank1300 150 300+61 2 8232 1684
    Maleny Credit Union1800 621 199 or (02) 9959 7686+61 2 9959 7686
    ME Bank13 15 63+61 3 9708 4001
    My Credit Union8202 7777+61 2 8299 9101
    MyState1800 648 027+61 2 8299 9101
    NAB1800 033 103+61 3 8641 9083
    Newcastle Permanent13 19 87+61 2 4907 6501
    P&N Bank (Police & Nurses)13 25 77+61 8 9219 7511
    People’s Choice CU13 11 82+61 2 8299 9101
    Policebank131 728+61 2 9287 0888
    Qantas Credit Union1300 747 747+61 2 9582 3200
    QPCU13 77 28+1 303 967 1090
    QT Mutual Bank13 29 30+61 7 3842 6222
    Queenslanders Credit Union1800 753 377+61 7 3218 7200
    RaboBank1800 723 566+61 2 81154265
    RaboDirect1800 445 445+61 2 8115 2558
    RAMS13 7267N/A
    Rural Bank1800 035 383+61 8 7109 9207
    SCU13 61 91N/A
    Service One Alliance Bank1300 361 761+61 2 8299 9101
    St.George1800 028 208+61 2 9553 5333
    Suncorp Bank1800 775 020​+61 7 3362 1712
    Teachers Mutual Bank13 12 21+61 2 9735 9331
    UBank1300 822 630+61 2 8756 0855
    Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank1300 654 822+61 3 9834 8560
    Virgin Money13 37 39+61 2 8288 2222
    Westpac1300 651 089+61 2 9374 7237
    Your Credit Union1800 621 199N/A

    You may also be interested in

    Amicable Resolutions

    Disputes are often mistaken for fraudulent transactions, despite the fact that a dispute can be settled, in other words, an agreement reached between both parties that is satisfactory. An amicable agreement is usually reached for the simple reason that if there are too many complaints against a particular merchant, the card issuer can refuse to work with the seller again, making it extremely difficult to sell online. If you do wish to complain to your debit card provider, then you should keep a record of all dealings with the merchant to prove that you attempted to come to a reasonable solution.

    Zero Liability Guarantees

    If you are having trouble coming to an agreement with the merchant, there is always the option of zero liability guarantee. A zero liability guarantee is a guarantee offered by card issuers where a fraudulent or unauthorised transaction will not be completed. The money will not be removed from your bank account. Keep in mind, though, that you will need to have adequate proof in the form of correspondence to prove that the transaction was indeed unauthorised.

    Additionally, ensure that you file the claim as soon as possible, because some debit cards have a time limit on their zero liability guarantee. Also, remember that not all debit cards offer this option, so make sure to check first.

    Another precaution debit card providers adopt is to monitor your card usage so that they can identify any transactions that seem unusual to your regular pattern. Usually, the card issuer will get in touch with you to confirm or deny the transaction in question. Card issuers want to keep your business and they are doing everything in their power to limit the likelihood of problems arising.

    How to avoid card fraud, traps and scams.

    Fraudulent transactions or merchant dispute?

    It is also important to differentiate between fraudulent transactions and merchant disputes because people tend to confuse the two quite frequently. A fraudulent transaction is generally the result of identity theft and involves the use of your debit card for any intention other than the one you had. So, for example, if you find your debit card has been charged for a purchase you never made, that can be considered a fraudulent transaction.

    On the other hand, a dispute with a merchant usually refers to the buyer and seller not agreeing on a certain part of the transaction, such as the item not being as described or receiving the wrong item and so on and so forth. In general, merchant disputes are resolved amicably since the merchant doesn’t want to run the risk of the card issuer refusing to work with the company. If this does happen, the merchant will have a hard time selling anything online. This makes sellers much more open to finding an amicable solution.

    If it does come down to you having to complain to your debit card provider, ensure you have a record of all your correspondence with the merchant so you can prove you attempted an amicable agreement.

    In conclusion, debit cards are as safe from fraudulent transactions as regular credit cards. They do, however, have on major advantage over credit cards and that is the inability to spend more than the amount of money you have in your account. In the long term, this will save you a lot of money since you don’t have to pay penalties for going over your limit or interest costs.

    Shirley Liu

    Shirley is's publisher for banking and investments. She has completed a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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    8 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      MattinthehatApril 9, 2017


      We have had a number of fraudulent transactions happen to us.
      Your statement about the money being stopped is incorrect as the transaction must be completed before you can lodge a claim.

      My Question is there is also a number of currency conversion fees attached to the transaction. Am I able to claim these also?

      • Staff
        HaroldApril 14, 2017Staff

        Hi Mattinthehat,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        Our company is a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers to make a better decision. Please note we do not represent any company we feature on our pages.

        Claim does not guarantee a refund, this could be your best bet when other options have failed. Here are the steps to make the refund process as easy as possible. You may want to read the step by step procedure for your guidance.

        I hope this information has helped.


    2. Default Gravatar
      SofiaJuly 5, 2016

      If money transaction was made through a credit card ( by my computer) to a company that proved to be a scam, after they promised me great short term profits that never appeared, can I dispute and reverse the money transaction after 6 months?
      Thank you

      • Staff
        ClarizzaJuly 5, 2016Staff

        Hi Sofia,

        Thanks for your question.

        It should be noted, we are a comparison website and as such, can provide general advice only.

        It will depend on the terms and conditions of your credit card, however fraudulent transactions should be reported within 30 days.

        As it is now passed the 30 day mark, we recommend seeking the advice of a lawyer to discuss your options. Still do notify the bank and discuss your options.

        Hope this helps.


    3. Default Gravatar
      MichelleApril 13, 2016

      I am trying to claim back money on a fraudulent transaction through NAB Defence on accounts in March 2012, do you know if they existed back then and if not when it did commence as it happened for a while?

      • Staff
        ShirleyApril 14, 2016Staff

        Hi Michelle,

        Thanks for your question.

        Unfortunately we don’t know if NAB Defence existed back in March 2012.

        The terms and conditions state that to be eligible of a refund on a fraudulent transaction, you need to notify NAB immediately and have not contributed to the transaction.

        Best of luck.

    4. Default Gravatar
      StuartDecember 24, 2015

      I bought and paid for 7 nights accommodation at a hotel in Phuket whilst using there site I was transferred to a different site for payment my hotel was confirmed as booked and paid (may) I received an email from a 3rd party with voucher etc. the same 3rd party has since emailed me to tell me my booking will not be honoured due to reason out with there control and I should contact my credit card to dispute the transaction. (Dec) I emailed the hotel and they claim that the a fraud site had hacked their site and I should contact the credit card company, will I get a refund from my virgin credit card

      • Staff
        ShirleyDecember 29, 2015Staff

        Hi Stuart,

        Thanks for your question and we’re sorry to hear about your situation.

        Please be mindful that refunds are handled on a case by cases by the Virgin credit card fraud team, as there are term and conditions attached. The Virgin team can be reached on 13 37 39.

        Hope it all works out,

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