Occasionally, your credit card issuer may bill you for credit card transactions that you did not make. These may be accidental charges billed by a hotel or restaurant where you used you card. But deliberate fraudulent transactions are a recurring problem.
Check out these moneyland.ch tips on how to protect your money:
- Check your credit card statement regularly and thoroughly, especially after traveling outside of Switzerland. Even if you haven’t left the country, going over each payment on your credit card statement is worth the time. Fraudsters often go unnoticed by only making small charges using stolen credit card data, but regularly and over a long period of time.
- Report any irregularities to your credit card issuer as soon as possible. Swiss card issuers, in keeping with due diligence obligations, require that you as the cardholder report any erroneous charges within 30 days. In not meeting this deadline, you “consent” to being held responsible for all transactions.
- In the event of an erroneous transaction, you will have to fill out a transaction dispute form (sometimes called a chargeback form), which most issuers let you access online. After you submit the completed form, the dispute process will be set in motion. Your credit card issuer will get back to you regarding further steps to take.
- Even if you dispute transactions on your statement, you will still have to make your credit card payment by the due date. However, after your issuer receives the transaction dispute form, you will be reimbursed for the disputed amount. This applies even if your dispute is still being reviewed.
- Whenever possible, keep all receipts for payments made using your credit card, especially when you use your card at hotels, restaurants and shops while traveling. Being able to show receipts greatly increases your chances of correcting mistakes on your credit card bill. Providing a receipt may be all it takes to conclude the dispute process.
- If you don’t have the relevant receipts, some credit card issuers will request or require that you first contact the merchant that billed you (such as a restaurant or hotel) and request that they correct or cancel the erroneous charge. If the merchant believes that they have incorrectly billed you, they should then contact their merchant acquirer and correct the mistake.
If contacting the merchant yourself isn’t possible – because of a language barrier, for example – Swiss credit card issuers will assist you in the process. Most Swiss card issuers are quite accommodating even when errors are difficult to prove.
- If your credit card issuer concludes that all of the charges made to your card account are justified, they may add the charge to your credit card bill immediately. They might also add charges to cover administrative costs.
- Important: You are only required to pay for transactions which you have authorized. A classic example is the case of hotel mini-bars. If the hotel does not include mini-bar charges on your bill, it is not allowed to charge them to your credit card without your consent. However, the hotel can contact you directly to request compensation. The same rule applies to charges for merchandise, services or airline transportation that are not delivered or which you did not authorize.
- It gets more complicated when goods or services are delivered, but don’t meet your satisfaction. Most credit card issuers will not reimburse you for these purchases, and any returns will be subject to the merchant’s return policy. However, some credit cards do come with return protection, which means you can apply for reimbursement from your card issuer if a merchant refuses to accept a return.
- Have any questions about credit cards? The credit card comparison tool from moneyland.ch is the easy way to find the benefits and costs of Swiss credit cards.