Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Debit cards may provide travel safety net

It was long assumed - until recently - that paying by debit card did not ensure you got your money back if an airline or other unlicensed travel company went bust.

Travellers using a credit cards, on the other hand, were protected under the Consumer Credit Act if they spent over £100.

Now it has emerged that you may, after all, be covered if you pay by debit card - though not under the Act. First evidence of this came to light after last year's XL collapse, when it turned out users of Visa debit cards were protected.

However, it appears holders of other debit cards may also have protection. You need to check the small print of your contract with the issuing bank. If you are covered and do need to claim - you should do so quickly.

And don't take no for an answer. Customer experience after the XL failure suggested some bank staff were unaware of such protection.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Keep your PIN out of sight

Be very careful not to let anyone see your pin when using a bank card. Consumer magazine Which? quotes the case of a Briton who lost over £2,000 stolen within 20 minutes of having his debit card stolen. It says Natwest turned down his fraud claim because his pin was used to withdraw the cash. The bank argued he must have been negligent, and when he appealed to the Financial Ombudsman Service, it also turned down his case.

Which? says card fraud at cash machines increased by 31% between 2007 and 2008, and around £609.9m was lost through card fraud last year. It expects that the Financial Services Authority (FSA, which takes over retail banking regulation in November, will provide more detailed guidance on the evidence that requjired from banks in card fraud cases. Which? will lobby the Authority to ensure that the process is fair and fully transparent for consumers.