Unauthorized mobile payments

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

An unauthorized mobile payment is a payment that you didn’t make or approve.

This includes unauthorized payments such as:

  • contactless or tap payments
  • quick response or QR code payments
  • text message or email money transfers

Paying for an unauthorized mobile payment

Usually you don’t have to pay for unauthorized mobile payments. The financial institution that issued your credit card or debit card may have policies in place that protect you from unauthorized mobile payments.

However, in some cases, you may have to pay for unauthorized mobile payments if:

  • you share your PIN or password you use to make mobile payments
  • you can approve payments with your fingerprints and you register other people’s fingerprints on the device
  • you disable the feature that requires a password for mobile payments

Protect yourself from unauthorized mobile payments

To protect yourself from unauthorized mobile payments, do the following:

  • keep the PIN or the password of your payment method or app secret
  • keep the PIN or the password for your mobile device secret
  • set the “require password” option so every mobile payment requires password confirmation

Use different passwords to access your mobile device and to approve a payment. Or, use a fingerprint to access your device but a password to approve payments.

Remember to remove all personal data, including mobile wallets, when you change mobile devices.

Get advice on how to protect your PIN.

Learn about how to protect your mobile device.

Report an unauthorized mobile payment

Where you report an unauthorized mobile payment depends on the payment method you used for the transaction.

Mobile payments linked to your cell phone or wireless service provider

If an unauthorized payment appears on your cell phone or wireless service provider bill, contact your provider.

Consider asking your cell phone or wireless service provider to block third-party charges by vendors to your wireless account for features such as text messages and ring tones. This may help avoid further unauthorized mobile payments.

If your complaint is not resolved, contact the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunication Services.

Mobile payments linked to a debit or credit card

If you find an unauthorized mobile payment made using an account linked to your credit or debit card, contact the financial institution that issued your debit or credit card.

The credit or debit card issuer’s name or logo should be on the card itself.

If a federally regulated financial institution issued your credit or debit card, they must have a process in place to handle complaints.

Learn how to make a complaint about a credit or debit card.

Mobile payments linked to a prepaid card

Contact the prepaid card issuer if you find an unauthorized mobile payment linked to a prepaid card.

The prepaid card issuer’s name or logo should be on the card or the card packaging.

For prepaid or gift cards issued by a single retailer or retail chain, contact the retailer.

Find out how to make a complaint about a prepaid card.

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