How to Dispute Debit Card Transactions

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Debit cards are a great convenience. They provide consumers with an easy way to pay for goods and services using funds from their checking account, but without writing checks. Occasionally, however, it is necessary to dispute a debit card transaction. Reasons for this include possible fraudulent use of the card, an incorrect billing amount, nonreceipt of ordered goods or dissatisfaction with the services or merchandise purchased. Disputing a transaction is a simple process and usually results in prompt resolution if the proper procedure is followed.


Step 1

Compare the transaction on your receipt to the one that appears on your checking account statement. If you did not make the purchase and the transaction is fraudulent, contact your bank immediately, file a report and request that your card be canceled and a new card issued. If you did make the purchase, however, proceed to Step 2.


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Step 2

If the amount on your receipt differs from the amount on your statement, contact the merchant where you made the purchase and attempt to resolve the problem. Request a credit to your account if appropriate. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the merchant, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3

Contact your bank and explain the situation. Let a bank representative know that you have spoken with the merchant and ask the bank to investigate the charge.



Step 4

Send your bank a copy of the receipt along with your statement and a letter of explanation. State what you believe the correct amount should have been and request a credit for the difference.

Step 5

When you receive your next statement, verify that the bank has issued a credit to your account. If no credit appears, contact the bank immediately and ask for an explanation. Continue this process in subsequent months until the issue is resolved.


If you've been unable to resolve the issue after several attempts, there are several government agencies that may be able to help. These include the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. You can find their contact information on the web.


Be sure to contact your bank immediately as soon as you notice an incorrect transaction on your statement, and especially if you suspect that your card has been used fraudulently. Failure to do so within 48 hours may cause you to forfeit your rights under the law.

Things You'll Need

  • Debit card receipt

  • Checking account statement

  • Telephone or internet access

  • Pen, paper, envelope and postage stamp

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