Wednesday, December 19, 2018


With a debit card, which yanks money from your bank account almost immediately, there's a good chance the merchant already has your money by the time you realize something is wrong with a purchase. So you have a lot less leverage. As long as you have your receipt, you may have a case under your state's unfair trade practices law.

But pursuing that course could prove costly and time-consuming. So you're pretty much stuck trying to resolve the dispute with a merchant on your own. It could go on for weeks, and when it's all said and done you may not get your money back. "The merchant may want to make some other arrangement like a store credit or a gift certificate or some other thing," says Jeanne Hogarth, program manager in consumer policies at the Federal Reserve Board. "That isn't exactly putting money back in your account."

What kind of federal protections do you have with a debit card? Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, you have the right to dispute an error on your bank statement, and you have some protections if your debit card is lost or stolen.

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