If you’re dealing with fraud on your debit card, getting money back from any transactions is probably a major priority.
Debit card accounts typically carry your own money, whether it’s the account your salary is paid into or one you transfer money to, which means you could be left short for expenses if fraud occurs.
But the time it takes to get money back for unauthorised transactions varies significantly depending on the circumstances. For starters, debit card issuers have their own policies when it comes to resolving fraud and transaction disputes.
Some issuers will want to fully investigate the fraud and make sure you are not liable for the costs in any way (i.e. by giving your card and PIN to someone you would be held accountable for any charges, whether or not you approved them).
Others may act immediately, reissuing a card and getting the refund process underway as soon as fraud is detected.
ANZ, for example, outlines that credit for fraud on a Visa debit card should be in your account “within five business days”.
“If you notify ANZ of an unauthorised transaction(s), within 5 business days we will provide provisional credit to you to the value of the unauthorised transaction unless your prior account history is unsatisfactory or if the nature of transactions justifies a delay in crediting your account,” the bank’s Visa debit product disclosure statement says.
Many other product disclosure statements – such as those from NAB and CBA – are not as clear about how long it will take, so it is important to check with your actual debit card issuer to know exactly how the process will work if you are dealing with debit card fraud.
In general, you can expect a prompt response from your debit card issuer when fraud is detected and confirmed. Your back will take a number of steps to make sure your account is safe, including:
- Freezing your account,
- Issuing you a new debit card,
- Investigating suspected and confirmed fraudulent transactions; and
- Processing reimbursements for transactions covered by Visa or MasterCard’s Zero Liability Policies.
Unlike standard merchant chargebacks, which could take up to 45 days to process, fraud is taken seriously by all debit card issuers in Australia, and that is reflected in the time it takes to resolve related issues.
Debit Card Fraud Overseas
If your debit card is compromised while you are overseas, and significant funds have gone missing, then you will still be covered by the same protection you have in Australia.
However, having access to funds straight away could be more of an issue, which is why Visa, MasterCard and most banks have Emergency Fund services for cardholders who have issues when they are overseas.
These services can give you access to cash or a temporary loan while the fraud is investigated, so that you are not left in the lurch on the other side of the world.
Debit cards can also be reissued to you while you are overseas, although in some cases you could be charged up to $150 for this service. To avoid this fee – and any others that could arise from debit card fraud while you’re away – make sure you find out exactly what services and processes are available with your debit card issuer before you leave.
It’s also very important that you tell your bank when you are planning a trip, where you will be going and approximately how long you will be away. They will be able to give you relevant information on what’s available for you if fraud does occur, and also monitor your account more effectively.
What To Do When Waiting For Fraud Reimbursement
Whether a little or a lot of the money in your debit card account is taken through fraudulent transactions, it could leave you struggling to find money while the issues are being resolved.
If that is the case, it may be a good idea to have a secondary account that you can access to make payments. If you’re overseas, that could mean using a credit card, while if you’re in Australia, it could be either credit or dipping into your savings account.
Remember, you should get the money back fairly quickly to top up any other account you have to use while fraud chargebacks are being processed, and at least you will be able to pay for things in the meantime.
Card fraud is something no one wants to deal with, but learning more about it now could help you keep safe in the future. And if your card is ever compromised, understanding the fraud refund process will help you keep a cool head when it really matters.