Using a card provides you with extra protection if things go wrong - protection that you don’t necessarily have if you pay by cheque or cash. In addition to this extra protection provided, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself.
UK cardholders are not financially liable for fraud on their cards. However, card fraud is a real problem and costs the UK hundreds of millions of pounds a year. Fraud on cards has a high cost to society as it is often used to fund other serious organised crime. Although the personal cost of card fraud for innocent cardholders isn’t financial, there is the inconvenience of reporting an incident and providing any relevant documentation. There is also the inconvenience and frustration of being without your cards and waiting for any fraudulent activity on your account to be reversed or offset, as well as the fear and sense of violation that occurs.
If you are unlucky enough to become a victim of fraud you are protected by the Lending Code and should not suffer any financial loss as a consequence – provided you have not acted fraudulently or without reasonable care (e.g. you haven’t written down your PIN and haven’t disclosed it to someone else). If you are shown to have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care, you risk having to meet all the losses on your account.
Your card company should be your first point of contact - not the police. It will be up to your card company, and not you the account holder, to pass details to the police. Where an additional crime has been committed with the fraud, for example, you have had your wallet stolen or your card used fraudulently as a result of a burglary, or if you want to claim on your household/ travel insurance then this should still be reported to the police.
For information about all types of card fraud, and for advice on how to prevent fraud and protect yourself, visit Financial Fraud Action UK
For specific information about protecting yourself when using your cards online, see the section on Using your cards online.