What you should do if your credit card is stolen


Posted at Nov 29 2014 04:33 PM | Updated as of Nov 30 2014 12:33 AM

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MANILA, Philippines - Did you know that if your credit card is stolen, you are still liable for charges that the thief made?

This is just one of the issues that all credit card holders should be aware of.

Credit Card Association of the Philippines executive director Alex Ilagan said the first thing you should do when you find out your credit card has been stolen is to call the issuing bank immediately.

"The moment the issuing bank receives the call they can immediately block the account, so the card would not be charged anymore. And they're protected from the moment they card was lost... From the moment you find out the card was lost, it's your responsibility to report it. The only thing the bank can do is to block the accounts and they won't do it until you report it," he said on ANC's On The Money.

If the thief already used the credit card before it was reported stolen, Ilagan said the credit card holder would end up paying for these unauthorized charges.

"If it happened before the time of reporting (the theft), they will be liable for that. It's their responsibility," Ilagan said.

Most banks have 24/7 hotlines for reporting lost/stolen cards, and some have toll-free international numbers.

If the card holder can prove the credit card was stolen, Ilagan suggested trying to negotiate with the bank on repayment terms.

"You can negotiate with the bank if you can be allowed to repay it over a longer period... If it can be proven it was stolen, some banks may give leeway, and waive charges if it's not too big," he said.

Billing errors, fraud

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Credit card holders should always closely scrutinize their charge slips and monthly billing statements to check if these are correct.

In case of billing errors, Ilagan said there's no cause for alarm since banks are reasonable.

"If the cardholder can prove it wasn't their fault, the banks are willing to listen and reverse the charges, if there are erroneous charges. It's very remote, not likely to happen because everything is done electronically," he said.

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In case of fraudulent transactions, Ilagan said the cardholders should report this to the bank immediately.

"All they need to do is report it to the bank, make a dispute and the bank will immediately block the card. They will be protected henceforth. As soon as they complain, most banks will post a 'temporary credit' on their accounts to prevent delinquency or interest penalties... In the process the investigation is conducted, they would have temporary credit," he said.

Ilagan said if it is proven the transaction was fraudulent, usually the card holder would not be liable for the charges.

"Usually it's the issuing bank that would take a loss on that transaction. If it's an international transaction, that would take longer because you have to deal with a foreign bank. If you use your card in Hong Kong and the information was skimmed, that takes longer," he said.

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