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 Institution||In Australia||From Overseas|
|AMP||1800 033 844||+61 2 8048 8249|
|ANZ||N/A||+61 3 8699 6955|
|Arab Bank Australia||1800 139 241||+61 2 9959 7530|
|Australian Military Bank (ADCU)||1300 13 23 28||+61 2 9240 4122|
|Auswide Bank||1800 072 111||+61 2 9959 7884|
|Bank Australia (bankmecu)||132 888||+61 3 9854 4666|
|Bank of Melbourne||1800 772 266||+61 3 9982 4186|
|Bank of Queensland (BOQ)||1800 077 024||+61 7 3336 2222|
|Bank of Sydney||1300 888 730||+61 2 8262 9102|
|BankSA||1800 028 208||+61 2 9553 5233|
|BankVic||13 63 73||+613 9268 9373|
|Bankwest||13 17 19||+61 8 9449 2840|
|bcu||1800 621 199||+61 2 9959 7686|
|Bendigo Bank||1800 035 383||+61 3 5485 7872|
|Beyond Bank||1800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|Big Sky||1300 654 321||+1 303 967 1090|
|Cairns Penny Savings & Loans Savings||(07) 4031 4460||N/A|
|Catalyst Money||1800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|Citibank||13 24 84||+61 2 8225 0615|
|Coles||1800 005 809||+61 3 9420 4818|
|Commonwealth Bank||13 2221||+61 2 9999 3283|
|Community First||1300 13 22 77||+61 2 9959 7480|
|CUA||133 282, 1800 648 027(Visa) or 1300 135 538 (Mastercard)||1 410 581 99949 (Visa) or 1 636 722 7111 (Mastercard)|
|Customs Bank||131 728||+61 2 9287 0888|
|Defence Bank||1800 648 027||+1 443 641 2004|
|DelphiBank||1 800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|Easy Street||1800 648 027 or (02) 9959 7480||+61 2 9959 7480|
|ECU Australia||1800 383 791 or 1800 621 199||+1 303 967 1090|
|Endeavour Mutual Bank||1300 13 14 20||+61 2 9245 1040|
|FCCS||1800 648 027||N/A|
|First Choice Credit Union||1800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|First Option Credit Union||1300 855 675||+61 3 9869 8700|
|firstmac||13 12 20||+61 7 3017 8888|
|G&C Mutual||1300 364 400||+61 2 9307 5400|
|Gateway Bank Ltd||1800 139 241||+61 2 9307 4200|
|Greater Building Society||1300 651 400||1-800-450-346|
|Heritage Bank||1800 076 037||+61 7 4694 9139|
|Horizon Credit Union||1300 366 565||+61 2 8299 9101|
|HSBC Australia||1300 308 008||+61 2 9005 8187|
|Hunter United||1800 621 199||+61 2 4941 3888|
|Illawarra Credit Union||1800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|IMB||133 462||+61 2 4298 0111|
|ING||133 464||+61 2 9028 4077|
|Intech Credit Union||1800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|Macquarie Bank||1300 150 300||+61 2 8232 1684|
|Maleny Credit Union||1800 621 199 or (02) 9959 7686||+61 2 9959 7686|
|ME Bank||13 15 63||+61 3 9708 4001|
|My Credit Union||8202 7777||+61 2 8299 9101|
|MyState||1800 648 027||+61 2 8299 9101|
|NAB||1800 033 103||+61 3 8641 9083|
|Newcastle Permanent||13 19 87||+61 2 4907 6501|
|P&N Bank (Police & Nurses)||13 25 77||+61 8 9219 7511|
|People’s Choice CU||13 11 82||+61 2 8299 9101|
|Policebank||131 728||+61 2 9287 0888|
|Qantas Credit Union||1300 747 747||+61 2 9582 3200|
|QPCU||13 77 28||+1 303 967 1090|
|QT Mutual Bank||13 29 30||+61 7 3842 6222|
|Queenslanders Credit Union||1800 753 377||+61 7 3218 7200|
|RaboBank||1800 723 566||+61 2 81154265|
|RaboDirect||1800 445 445||+61 2 8115 2558|
|Rural Bank||1800 035 383||+61 8 7109 9207|
|SCU||13 61 91||N/A|
|Service One Alliance Bank||1300 361 761||+61 2 8299 9101|
|St.George||1800 028 208||+61 2 9553 5333|
|Suncorp Bank||1800 775 020||+61 7 3362 1712|
|Teachers Mutual Bank||13 12 21||+61 2 9735 9331|
|UBank||1300 822 630||+61 2 8756 0855|
|Bank First||1300 654 822||+61 3 9834 8560|
|Virgin Money||13 37 39||+61 2 8288 2222|
|Westpac||1300 651 089||+61 2 9374 7237|
|Your Credit Union||1800 621 199||N/A|
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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.
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.