Stolen ATM Card Liability

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What happens if there’s an unauthorized transaction on your ATM card?

A recent study by Data Genetics just revealed the most used ATM passwords. So in case you thought that if someone found your debit card it would be unusable, you’re probably not as clever as you think. Yep, I’m looking at you, Mr. 1234, you Ms. 1111, and even you, little 0000.

So, what if your ATM card is lost or stolen? Is your vast fortune at risk?

Federal law sets limits on how much you’re liable for in the event of a fraudulent transaction, and it depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report your card missing before it’s been used fraudulently, the card issuer can’t hold you responsible. If you report the loss within two business days after you realize your card is missing – but after a fraudulent transfer – you will not be responsible for more than $50 of the unauthorized use. But if you don’t report the loss within 2 days, you could be liable for up to $500 and your liability would be unlimited – that is, you would have no recourse for fraudulent transactions if you fail to report it within 60 days after your bank statement arrives, even if it leaves both your password and your account balance at 0000.

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