What to do about a fraudulent transaction on your debit card

Three steps to take if you notice a fraudulent transaction made from your bank account.

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Generally, you are entitled to a refund if there is a fraudulent transaction on your debit card. Most debit cards come with a zero liability guarantee which protects consumers against any fraudulent transactions. 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.

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.

What do to if you spot a fraudulent transaction

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 your bank to block the transaction

    If you spot a fraudulent transaction that has been made from your bank account, the very first thing to do is contact your bank. Your bank may be able to block the transaction going through if it's still pending.

  • Step 2 - Make a claim If the transaction has already gone through, your bank will be able to tell you the next steps to make a claim and try get the money back.
  • Step 3 - Freeze your debit card

    While you're still trying to figure out what exactly has happened, it's a good idea to temporarily freeze your debit card. This means that if someone has got their hands on your card, or your card details, they won't be able to make any further transactions while it's frozen. You can do this in your mobile banking app, via Internet banking or by calling your bank.

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. In the case of the second situation, your bank won't be able to offer much help.

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
Border Bank131 728+61 2 9287 0888
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)
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
Endeavour Mutual Bank1300 13 14 20+61 2 9245 1040
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 Bank Ltd1800 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
Rabobank1800 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
Bank First1300 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

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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.

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.

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12 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    RosemaryOctober 24, 2021

    My Google account has been hacked into an it’s linked up to my online banking an my myGov iv had money taken out of my account how do I report an be refunded of stolen money

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AlisonOctober 26, 2021Staff

      Hi Rosemary,

      We’re sorry to hear that your account has been hacked. The very first you should do is contact your bank. You can file a claim If the transaction has already gone through and your bank will advise the next steps how to get the money back. Make sure to read the Product Disclosure Statements and Terms & Conditions to learn more about their claims and refund process. You can also check this page on how to recover your hacked Google account.


    Default Gravatar
    KateNovember 14, 2018

    My son took my credit card and purchased something without my consent. My credit card provider is saying I have to go to the police if I want to get my money back but I do want my 12-year-old son in trouble with the police. Is this normal procedure with the banks?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezNovember 15, 2018Staff

      Hello Kate,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Since you’re filing for a fraudulent transaction, a police report is required by some banks for investigation and yes, that’s a normal procedure.

      If you also want a refund, you may contact the merchant your son had purchased the item from and return it to them and check if they can refund you the payment.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.


    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?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldApril 14, 2017Staff

      Hi Mattinthehat,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Our company finder.com.au 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.


    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

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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.


    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?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      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.

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