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What Happens if Your Debit Card is Stolen?

18 August 2012

You know how your bank is always telling you to never, ever give out your secret PIN code on your bank card to anybody? Turns out, there’s a reason they say that!

Of course, you don’t want to give out your PIN to protect your account and so that not just anyone can tap into your account and drain it for all its worth. If you give out that PIN number and someone uses it to do just that, you won’t have any protection backing you up at all.

This is because most people that have a debit card are protected by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation. This agency is not an insurance company nor a bank, but they are a federal corporation that work on behalf of consumers to protect their accounts. If your bank is a member of the CDIC (and most are,) and if your debit card is stolen, it’s the CDIC that will give you up to $100,000 of your money back. If that is, you can prove that your money was actually stolen.

This means that it has to be proven that your debit card was illegally obtained, and that the PIN number was as well. If someone just puts your card into the machine and taps in your PIN number though, you are out of luck and will likely not have your money returned. While this is the basic gist of your rights should your debit card ever be stolen, you can find a full listing of them all on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s website here.

No bank will hold you responsible for any losses to your account after you have already reported the card or number as stolen, and so it’s important to report it as soon as you suspect that either have been taken from you. The exact process that ensues from there will depend on what it says in your Cardholder Agreement; but typically it will be just a matter of time before your money is returned to you.

Fortunately having your debit card stolen is not worse than having your credit card stolen. Unless it appears as though someone simply knowingly used your PIN number, and accessed your money quite easily, you have a lot of protection in Canada. And there will be very little you’ll have to do in the way of verifying that you didn’t know (such as in the cases of phishing schemes or hackers) and you will most likely get your money back.

But the lesson of the day when it comes to having your debit card, or its PIN number, stolen? Do everything you can to prevent it. Listen up when they tell you not to give your PIN number to anybody and do what you can to protect your money. If you do, your bank and the government will protect you right back.

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