Resolving an unauthorized credit card transaction
Recognizing an unauthorized transaction
Generally, any credit card transaction that you didn’t make or approve is an unauthorized transaction.
Unauthorized transactions may occur if:
- your credit card is lost or stolen
- someone uses your credit card number to make transactions you didn't authorize
Each credit card issuer may define unauthorized transactions differently. Check with the bank or other financial institution that issued your credit card, your credit card agreement or your monthly statement to make sure you understand what is considered an authorized transaction.
Reporting an unauthorized transaction
Contact your credit card issuer immediately and report any transactions you didn’t make or approve. Ask if they'll give you a refund for the transaction.
In some cases, you may need to report an incident within a specific amount of time. If not, you may not get the full amount back.
Paying for an unauthorized transaction
In most cases, you’re not responsible for transactions you did not make or approve.
Your maximum liability must be $50 if your credit card is issued by a federally regulated financial institution. This amount must be clearly stated in your credit card agreement.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express have zero liability policies that protect you beyond the maximum liability. The policies apply to online, phone and in-store transactions.
Check your credit card agreement or contact your financial institution to confirm the amount you have to pay in the case of unauthorized use of your credit card.
Making a complaint about an unauthorized transaction
All federally regulated financial institutions, such as banks, must have a complaint-handling process in place.
- Credit cards: rights and responsibilities
- Checking for errors on your credit report
- Credit card fraud
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