Frequently Asked Questions
Please see a list below of our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that isn't listed below, please the SafeCard team.
How can I prevent card fraud?
What do I do if I lose my debit or credit card?
If my card has been stolen, am I liable for the purchases made on it by the thief?
Is it safe to shop on-line, over the phone or by mail order?
If I notice an error in my current account / credit card statement, what should I do?
What is the difference between a debit and a credit card?
What is skimming?
What is being done to combat skimming?
How can I keep my PIN secure?
What do I do if I forget my PIN?
Tips on remembering your PIN
Can I change my PIN?
How do I unlock my PIN?
- DO guard your cards; treat them in the same way that you would cash
- DO sign the back of your credit card or debit card as soon as you receive it. Destroy any cards that are past the expiry date
- DO check your receipts against your bank statements carefully. If you find an unfamiliar transaction, contact your card issuer immediately
- DON'T give your card to anyone else to use. Your card is the key to your bank account. It is for you and your use only
- DON'T leave payment card lying around at home. Keep them in a safe place
- DON'T let your card out of your sight when paying for goods or services
Contact your card issuer immediately and inform them that your card is lost or has been stolen. Click here for the 24-hour emergency lost or stolen telephone numbers.
The 'Code of Best Practice of the European Banking Debit Payments Industry on Card-Based Payments' states that the maximum a cardholder can be held liable for transactions on a lost/stolen card that they have reported is €150. In reality, the actual amount payable by the cardholder will depend on the bank and the circumstances of the situation. If a card is lost or stolen but the cardholder does not report it, then the cardholder may be liable to pay a greater amount.
As long as you adhere to a few simple safety guidelines, you can avoid the risks of shopping in a Card Not Present environment. The vast majority of mail/telephone order and Internet businesses are honest and legitimate organisations. Provided you follow a few simple guidelines, to ensure the security of your purchases, there is no reason why shopping over the Internet, over the phone or by mail order should be any less secure than shopping on the high street. You have many of the same, if not more consumer rights!
Contact your bank or card issuer immediately, let them know which transactions you are suspicious of and they will start an investigation. Click here for the 24-hour emergency lost or stolen telephone numbers for all Irish based card issuers.
When you purchase an item using a debit card, the value of that item is debited from your current account, generally within 3 working days. With a credit card, when you purchase an item, you are required to pay for it by a certain date in the future.
Most cases of counterfeit fraud involve skimming, a process whereby the genuine data on a credit or debit card is electronically copied onto another card, without the legitimate cardholder's knowledge.
Skimming can occur at retail outlets such as bars, restaurants, petrol stations or anywhere that we tend to hand over our card to staff. Generally, an employee will have been recruited by a serious criminal to skim customer card details using a small, hand-held electronic device (a skimmer). The criminal might offer a staff member a large amount of money, depending on how many card numbers they can obtain. Once card details are skimmed, the staff member hands the skimmer back to the criminal who downloads the card details and uses them to create a copy of the credit or debit card. They then use the card in countries where Chip & PIN has not yet been implemented. The genuine cardholder may be unaware of the fraud until they receive their next bank statement, showing purchases they did not make.
All card issuers here have fraud monitoring systems in place to detect unusual activity on customers’ accounts. Once activity is detected the bank will phone the customer to confirm their purchases, e.g. someone who normally uses their card at their local supermarket once a week, suddenly using the card to purchase high value electronic goods at a shop in a different county or country will alert a card issuer. If such transactions are found to be fraudulent, following a conversation with the cardholder, the bank will block them, stop the card and issue a new card to the customer. If they are valid transactions the sales are allowed to be processed through. This function within banks in Ireland has proven to save numerous cardholders from becoming victims of fraud.
IPSO Card Services, banks and financial institutions, the Gardaí and the PSNI are constantly working to reduce and prevent card fraud and its harmful effects on cardholders, retailers, the financial services industry and society in general. The introduction of Chip and PIN in Ireland has dramatically reduced skimming activity. Skimming fraud now accounts for a small percentage of card fraud in Ireland, compared with 64% in 2007.
Your Personal Identification Number or PIN is the key to your account and you need to make sure that it does not fall into the wrong hands.
- When entering your four-digit PIN, cover the PIN pad with your free hand from the view of anyone who may be standing close by.
- Take care to destroy your PIN notice as soon as you have memorised the PIN. Never keep the PIN notice together with your Chip and PIN card.
- Do not write down your PIN or save it in your mobile phone in such a way that it can be easily discovered if someone were to steal your phone and payment cards.
You should contact your card issuer who will re-issue your PIN.
You can change the PIN which the bank provides to you to another number that suits you. However if you still have difficulties, there are a number of ways to remember your PIN:
- Try using an anniversary date or a friend or relative's birthday by combining the day and month together or the month and year. (You should not use numbers that can be easily associated with you, for example your own date of birth. Unfortunately, if a handbag or wallet is stolen and the cards are accompanied by a passport or driving licence or similar personal document, the thief will most likely attempt your date of birth for your PIN)
- Some people find it easier to break down a four digit PIN into two numbers, for example 2155 as 21 and 55 or 1066 as 10 and 66
- You should avoid popular number sequences, for example 1234 or 9999 as these can be easily guessed by a thief
- Rather than learning a PIN off, try learning the pattern that you trace on the keypad with your fingers
- When you obtain your PIN, go somewhere quiet on your own and say it aloud several times; just hearing your own voice often helps to deepen the imprint of the number on your memory
- When using your PIN in shops don't worry if you get the number wrong first time, you have three chances to enter the correct one before your card is blocked
- If your PIN becomes blocked, contact your card issuer for advice
- Never write down your PIN
If you are having difficulty remembering your PIN why not try this method suggested by memory experts?
With the number shape system, you picture each number between zero and nine as something that looks like its shape. This allows you to visualise numbers and makes them easier to remember. For example:
- You could picture zero as a footbal
- The number one might be a pencil or a candle
- The number two a swan or a snake, etc
Once the associations are made, you can create a story to remember the sequence of numbers. If, for instance, your PIN is '2021', you could imagine yourself as a snake (2) playing football (0) with a swan (2) who was writing down the scores with a pencil (1). Believe it or not, the funnier the story, the stronger the chances of remembering it!!
You can change the PIN which your bank provides to a number you find easier to remember of if you suspect that someone else has obtained your PIN. Please consult your bank/card issuer for further guidance.
If you enter the wrong PIN three times in a row at a Point of Sale, the PIN becomes locked and the card cannot be used in a Chip and PIN environment. Please consult your bank for further guidance with regard to unlocking your PIN.
I used my credit card to buy tickets for a concert at a third party seller and have not received them in time for the concert. What are my rights?
You should aim to rectify the matter with the seller in the first instance but failing that, consult your credit card issuer's Terms & Conditions, as provided to you when you received your credit card. These should outline your rights with regard to the non receipt of goods (in this case, the tickets). You should be within your rights to charge back the transaction to the seller provided you alert your card issuer as soon as possible and that you are within the industry dispute time limits. In most cases you will have up to 30 calendar days after the date the tickets were due to be delivered to you within which you can raise a dispute through your card issuer. The transaction can be disputed through your card issuer, even if the seller is no longer in business. Through the bank's dispute process, the seller will have an opportunity to show proof that you did receive the tickets, by providing a signed delivery docket or similar. If they cannot do this, then you should be in a posiiton to receive a full refund from the seller, via your card issuer. The phone number to call, to raise a dispute, will be on the back of your credit card.