Online debit card transaction processing works in much the same way as an in-person transaction using a personal identity number. The only real differences are that Internet payments do not require that you enter a PIN and do not offer a cash-back option. Just as with in-person payments, online debit card processing usually takes place in real time. Therefore, the steps for canceling an online debit card transaction -- and for determining whether it's even an option -- depend on the merchant and the situation.
Canceling a Legitimate Transaction
Check the merchant's "Frequently Asked Questions" or business policy page. Some merchants delay processing for up to 30 minutes, which may allow you time to cancel the transaction. However, even if cancellation is an option, it could take a few business days to receive a refund.
Contact the merchant's customer service department as an alternative option if the merchant doesn't provide a cancellation option or if the transaction has already processed.
Contact the bank or merchant that issued your debit card. Explain the situation and ask if there is time to stop the transaction. However, if the money has already been withdrawn, there may not be anything else you can do.
Cancellation Due to Billing Errors or Fraud
Billing errors and fraudulent debit card transactions fall under Electronic Fund Transfer Act protections. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you take the following actions to limit your losses:
- Contact the issuing bank or merchant within two business days of discovering the transaction to limit your losses to $50.
- Write a follow-up letter to confirm that you reported the problem and send it via certified mail with a return receipt.