Just a little blog about me and mine.

My Credit Card Company Protects Me? July 16, 2008

Filed under: finances — Katie @ 6:19 pm

Instant message conversation today: 
friend:  just found out someone went on a shopping spree with one of my credit cards yesterday
me:  oh no-how did that happen?
friend:  no idea, it was with my [name] credit card that I consolidated all my other CC onto,  so I never used it.  they called me this morning and said there has been suspicious activity
me:  it’s protected though so you are not liable like most cards right?
friend:  yeah, I faxed them a statement, and they should take care of it.  didn’t lose the card no idea how they got it.

Legally, the most my friend would be liable for (if he has to pay anything at all) is $50. 

Because…The Fair Credit Billing Act is a protection from damages due to unauthorized use of your credit card. If you report a lost or stolen card before anyone uses it, you are not responsible for any charges. If you do not report it before an unauthorized use you are liable for a maximum of $50.  This applies for Credit cards only. Debit cards and ATM cards are covered under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and your liability depends on how quickly you report the loss. Unlike credit cards, debit and ATM cards can have unlimited liability in certain circumstances.

I check my account almost daily, mostly to make sure I’m not about to run out of money, but I’ll also know ASAP if anything is on my account that’s not supposed to be there. 

While we often think our credit card company just wants our money and in general I think carrying a balance should be avoided like the plague, they can in fact protect us from merchants and thieves, and merchants who act like thieves.  Some things I didn’t know….(thanks to the savvy folks at Consumerist.)

Merchants Cannot Require A
Minimum Transaction Amount (it’s actually a violation of their Merchant agreement).   So, the next time I’m at my local coffee shop with the $10 minimum sign and need an overpriced coffee and have no cash like always, I guess I could threaten to report them for violating their user agreement if they won’t charge $4 to my credit card.  (Note-I promise not to actually turn the struggling lesbian-owned coffee shop into the corporate giants).  If you are more of a capitalist than I am, or if you are in a situation where reporting is needed, VISA wants you to report the violation to the bank that issued your card, while MC has a handy form

Also, Merchants cannot require a surcharge for using credit cards (the loophole is a cash discount).  Again, that’s a violation of the merchant agreement.


One Response to “My Credit Card Company Protects Me?”

  1. Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template if you need any assistance customizing it let me know!

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