Has your credit or debit card been stolen or lost? Wondering what you should do and what protection you’re entitled to?

We asked the Federal Trade Commission for advice and information.

We know: Laws Protecting Stolen Credit and Debit Cards

Here’s What You Should Know When Your Credit or Debit is Stolen or Lost

1. Do I have any protection when my card is lost or stolen?

Yes. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) establish protection against both loss and theft of either your credit card or your debit card.

2. Is there a difference between CREDIT card and DEBIT card protection?

Yes. The two different kinds of cards are covered by different legislation and the protection and liability are different.

CREDIT CARD COVERAGE: The FCBA generally applies to open end credit accounts, such as credit cards and revolving charge cards.

DEBIT CARD COVERAGE: The EFTA applies to electronic fund transfers involving automated teller machines (ATMs), debit cards and other point-of-sale debit transactions, and other electronic transactions.

3. Tell me about CREDIT CARD protection and liability.

Your liability for a lost or stolen credit card is limited to $50. If the loss involves only your credit card number, not the card itself, you have no liability for unauthorized use.

Notify your credit card company immediately by phone, and follow up with a letter.

4. Tell me about DEBIT CARD protection and liability.

If someone uses your debit card, or makes other electronic fund transfers, without your permission, you can lose from $50 to $500 or more, depending on when you report the loss.

If you report the loss within 2 business days after you discover it, you will not be liable for more than $50 of unauthorized use. The longer you wait to report the loss, the greater your liability.

If you do not report an unauthorized transfer or withdrawal within 60 days after your statement is mailed to you, you risk unlimited loss, including the money in your account, and as well as the unused portion of a line of credit established for overdrafts.

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