Bank Giving Her the Runaround

Jul 6, 2012, 1:16 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm

Question: Angela in Huntsville says her bank account was tapped for $800 that she didn’t spend. She went to the bank, and now she’s getting the runaround. This debit card mess makes Dave angry.

Answer: Tell them they have 24 hours to put the money back, or you’re going to turn them in to the Office of the Comptroller. “Do it right now. I’m going to the state. I’m going to the feds. Don’t you screw around with this. And I’m going to Visa, too, because Visa guarantees this.” They guarantee against fraudulent charges. It should not be two or three weeks. I would not tolerate 24 hours. Visa has a 100% guarantee on any fraudulent transactions over a debit card.

They need to put the money back while they’re investigating. It’s simply a fraudulent transaction. “I didn’t do it, and I want it in there right now.” Get all up in their stuff. If they don’t do it, change banks because a bank is supposed to cover that stuff instantaneously. There’s nothing to this. It’s a very open-and-shut case.

There’s all this stuff going around, folks, that debit cards don’t have the same fraud protection that credit cards do, and they absolutely have the exact same fraud protection—exact same. If it’s a Visa or MasterCard debit card and a fraudulent transaction occurs, you are simply not liable. And they’re not allowed to screw around with it for two or three weeks figuring it out. Put the money back. Then if they can prove that you actually did it later, then we can do something else. But in the meantime, they put the money back. That’s not going to fly. These people out there saying the problem is this or that, the debit cards don’t have the same protection—they have the exact same protection. It’s a zero liability in the event of fraud or theft.

The debit card does have two mechanical things that it does. One is you swipe it through and you use it like a credit card. That’s how I use my debit card. That runs through the Visa system—if it’s a Visa card—and is protected 100% in the event of fraud or theft. If you use your debit card as an ATM function, then what you get is you’re using your PIN, and you are not on the Visa system and you do not have the Visa protections. You only have the same protection as an ATM has, so fraud protection would vary from bank to bank in that situation.

A debit card has the exact same fraud protection. It’s right there on Visa’s website. You can go there and read it on the site. It’s a zero liability for the consumer. Zero.

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Bank Giving Her the Runaround