Dealing with a stolen debit card is never a fun experience, especially if you discover that money is missing from your bank account. In this case, your primary concern is getting your money back.
Thankfully, fraudulent usage of debit cards due to theft is protected in the United States. If you act quickly, you significantly increase your chances of funds recovery.
The Importance of Contacting Your Bank
Whether your debit card was stolen or your lost card was later used by someone else, contact your bank right away. Your chances of money recovery depend on how quickly you notify your financial institution. In general, the longer you wait to report, the higher your liability is.
The best-case scenario is to report the stolen debit card before any charges are made. In this case, you are not liable for anything. If you notify your financial institution within two days of discovering the loss or theft, they can only hold you responsible for up to $50 in fraudulent charges.
However, after the two-day mark and up to sixty days, your liability increases to $500. And once sixty days have passed, you may be responsible for the full amount. In other words, the faster you report, the more financial protection you receive.
Getting Your Money Back
The first step towards assets recovery is to formally dispute any fraudulent charges with your bank. This process generally involves filling out a form and providing information about the charge. In more serious cases, your bank may advise you to file a police report, which you should keep on hand in case you need it in the future.
When you get your money back will depend on the status of the purchases. If the purchases are still pending, it’s often possible for the bank to stop or suspend them. This action will prevent money from being taken out of your account.
In the case of fraudulent charges whose transactions have cleared, the funds will initially be deducted. You can get them back by filing a claim with your bank, which will initiate an investigation that must be completed within ten days. If the bank can’t complete the investigation in that time frame, they must temporarily credit your account for the disputed amount.
At the end of the investigation, if the bank determines that the transactions were unauthorized, they will return your money.