Rights and Obligations

Credit and debit card holders are provided with certain rights by the issuer and under law, but you have certain obligations as well.

Card holders are guaranteed the following rights related to their use:

  1. Regular notification of charges made.
  2. Timely credit when you pay up.
  3. Credit balance refunds.
  4. Oversight resolutions.
  5. Elimination of unauthorized expenses.
  6. Dispute resolution.
  7. On-time shipment.
  8. Rejection of delivery.
  9. Refusal to pay when there is a dispute.
  10. Safeguards against offensive calls and junk mail.

Safe Use of a Credit Card

As a consumer, you also enjoy certain additional rights and obligations provided by law, irrespective of whatever you use a credit card to make a purchase. Familiarize yourself with your country’s laws on the subject. In the United States, for example, the Federal Trade Commission is the agency charged with the responsibility to protect consumers. It advises consumers to learn how to use their credit cards safely to avoid problems.

On-Time Credit for Payment

Paying your bills promptly is very important. This will prevent late fees and other extra financial charges. When you pay your bills, your account must be credited by the issuer of your card the day the payment was received, with the following exceptions:

  • You must make the payments as per agreed requirements. Your issuer may expect payment before a set cut-off time.
  • The card issuer may demand your payment be returned with a stub or that you provide an account number.
  • In the event your bill contains an error, you have the right to challenge that charge and refuse to pay for it until it has been fully investigated and resolved. A mistaken charge may be due to undelivered items, an incorrect amount or a product or service you did not order. You are, however, obliged to pay any undisputed amount on the bill and other costs that are unrelated to the amount in dispute.

Illegal Charges

The law may hold you responsible for a maximum payment if your credit or debit card was used unlawfully. In the United States, that amount is fixed at $50. However, if you reported the card theft or loss before it was used, you will be under no obligation to pay for any unlawful charges. If your card number was used illegally but not your card itself, you are not obligated to pay for any unauthorized charges.

Reporting a loss as soon as it occurs minimizes your liability. Many credit card companies offer toll-free phone numbers for call centers manned 24/7 to enable you to contact them around the clock.

It is worthwhile to write to the issuer to follow-up on a lost or stolen card. Remember to include your operational account number, the date you realized that your card was missing and when the loss was reported.