With debit card use growing every year, the chance of transaction issues is also on the rise.
Transaction problems could be the result of something as simple as a processing error or as complicated as debit card fraud.
Whatever the reason, transaction issues could lead to charges a lot higher than you expected, so it is important to deal with the issue as quickly as possible.
That is one of the main reasons why it is recommended that you regularly check your transactions online or review statements; while banks do have resources to help keep your account safe, looking over your transactions will help make sure nothing gets overlooked.
So what do you do if you actually find a transaction that does not seem right? The guide below outlines different steps you can take depending on the type of problem you think you are dealing with.
If you do not recognise the name on a deduction from your account, then there is a chance it could be debit card fraud.
Another element that could indicate fraud is unfamiliar transactions worth between $0.01 and $50 could be a sign of scammers “testing” your account to see how closely it is monitored – even if these charges appear to come from brands that you have made payments to before.
If you are certain you did not make these payments, you should contact your bank immediately and let them know you suspect fraud. Take note of the time and date of these transactions and let a bank representative know, so that they can check them and resolve the issues as quickly as possible.
Online Purchases Where Goods Do Not Turn Up
Shopping online is generally convenient and safe, but there are times when what you buy may not turn up at all.
If that is the case, you should try to contact the seller first and get them to refund your money. But if you cannot get onto them, you can contact your bank and request a chargeback on your debit card account.
This process will involve filling out a transaction dispute form, which could look something like this one from ANZ regardless of which bank you are with.
Overcharged By A Merchant
If you think you have been charged too much, or double-charged by a merchant it is important to contact them first and let them know.
Often it will be a quick process for them to resolve the issues and refund you the correct amount.
Once again, if you encounter difficulties with a merchant, you may want to fill out a transaction dispute form.
But it is worth noting that this process is a lot easier with a debit card if you have pressed the “credit” button during the initial transaction (in store) because that gives you more chargeback protection.
Differences In Balance and Available Balance
Sometimes when you are checking your debit card account through internet banking or mobile banking, you could see that your “balance” and “available balance” are different values.
In most cases when this happens, the available balance is lower than the balance and it shows that a merchant has put a “hold” on some of your money.
This process is known as an “authorisation hold” and is often used for online purchases and travel payments (such as hotel or flight bookings) and when the payment is approved your balance will reflect these authorised purchases.
But sometimes an authorisation hold will come up after a failed online transaction, leaving some of your money in limbo. If that is the case you can try to contact the merchant to request they remove the hold, or wait 72 hours and see if the situation is resolved.
After that time, if you still see the hold is there, you should contact your bank (which will probably request you fill out a transaction dispute form).
Dealing Directly With Your Bank
When it comes to resolving transaction disputes, each bank or credit union has its own policy and procedures.
Often these are available for you to review online, but if you are currently hoping to resolve a dispute there are a few things to remember when you do contact your bank
- Start with your local branch (or the general customer enquiries line),
- Clearly and concisely outline the issue/s,
- Provide details of the transaction that you want to dispute,
- Let them know if you have tried to resolve it before contacting the bank (ie by contacting a merchant),
- Request receipt numbers for any phone conversations that you have; and
- Before hanging up or leaving a branch, ask what the process will be from there.
Your debit card provider is there to help you but the more organised you are, the quicker it will be to resolve any issues that you have.
By being aware of the different reasons your transactions could be wrong, you will also be able to figure out the fastest way to deal with it without worrying so much about how things will work out.