Regulation E, which implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, limits a debit cardholder’s liability for fraudulent charges to $50 if the lost or stolen card is reported within two business days. If you report the unauthorized transactions after two days but within 60 days of the statement date, your losses will be limited to $500, no matter how much money was stolen. If you report the unauthorized transactions after the 60-day deadline, you may not get any refund for your losses. If you report your card missing before it’s used, the card issuer can’t hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions. If only the card number was stolen (not the physical card), you have 60 days to report any fraudulent transactions without any financial liability (in other words, your liability is limited to any transactions that occur after 60 days following the mailing of your account statement containing the unauthorized use and before you report the loss).
If you follow the reporting guidelines, your bank must give you provisional credit for disputed amounts. But if there is not sufficient proof that your card was used fraudulently, you could be liable for the entire amount in dispute.
Your card issuer may extend broader, voluntary fraud protections, such as “zero liability” coverage, which releases you from any liability for fraudulent charges. Contact your card issuer for more information.