Always report the loss or capture of your ATM Card within 48 hours

ATM Transactions
Report the loss/capture of your ATM or credit card verbally and in writing to your bank within 48 hours.
The customer alleges that in March, 2003 he attempted to withdraw monies from an ATM machine. The card became stuck and was eventually captured by the machine. The machine thereafter issued a notice that read: “Temporarily Out of Service”.

The customer visited the bank the following day and informed a bank officer of what had transpired. Internal checks were made and he was informed that his card was not at the branch in question. He was asked to return after working hours so that a further check could be made but he decided to return to his home branch to explain the situation and obtain cash over the counter.

On arriving at his branch, he was informed that his card was used twice on the said morning that he made the report at the branch where the card was first captured. This resulted in unauthorised withdrawals of over $2,000.

After investigations, the bank reimbursed the customer for the monies withdrawn by the unlawful party, less $500. The bank invoked Section 19 (2) of the Electronic Transfer of Funds Crime Act No. 87 of 2000 as the basis for its decision. This Sub-Section gives the card issuer the authority to levy a charge of $500 in certain circumstances concerning the use of ATM machines. The bank held the view that the customer did not exercise the necessary precaution at the machine when he realised that his ATM card had been captured, thereby causing a perpetrator to become privy to his PIN when he was attempting to retrieve his card.

The customer however remained dissatisfied and contacted the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman because he believed that he was entitled to be reimbursed for the full amount that was withdrawn by the perpetrator of the fraud. The Ombudsman wrote to the bank on the matter and pointed out that the customer had met all the conditions that allowed for a full refund under the said Act. The bank agreed to refund the customer the sum of $500 that was withheld since the customer had made his initial report within the time stipulated in the Act.

Lessons Learnt

Report the loss of your ATM or credit card as soon as possible or within forty eight hours; and confirm in writing in fourteen days (14) if the report was done verbally. If that is done you may not be liable for any loss that may occur.