What Is a Reverse Debit Card Purchase?

Debit cards are a convenient way to make payments and purchases. Sometimes though, a charge appears on your account that is greater than the amount you anticipated, or in some cases that you did not authorize at all. When this occurs you may need to request a reversal of the charge.

What Is a Reverse Debit Card Purchase?
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Reverse Debit Card Charge

A reverse debit card charge occurs when a merchant or bank reverses or cancels a transaction. The reversal then appears as a credit to the account on the account holder's bank statement. A receipt is usually necessary when requesting a reversal from a merchant, and in some cases the request may need to be made in person. The card holder's bank may also need to be contacted to ensure that the reversal amount is correct.

Account Overcharges

Many people are familiar with the experience of being overcharged for an item. In most cases, the cashier or merchant who made the charge simply made a mistake. If your account is overcharged a few dollars, you may not feel that it is worth the time and effort required to initiate a reversal. If, however, you have been charged significantly more than the amount you agreed upon when the item or items were purchased, a reversal of the charges may be necessary to prevent overdraft fees or the suspension of your bank account.

Debit Card Fraud

Fraud has become an increasingly common reason for people to request a reversal of charges made to their debit card. Fraudulent debit card charges may occur when the card has been stolen or when the card number has been compromised. In instances of fraud, Visa and MasterCard require that the debit card be canceled before the fraud claim can be processed. Report suspected debit card fraud to your debit card issuer or ATM as soon as possible. The Federal Trade Commission recommends sending a confirmation letter to the card issuer or ATM after calling in the initial fraud report and keeping a copy for your records. While credit card fraud liability is not more than $50, that's the not the case with debit card fraud. Your liability depends on how soon you report the fraud. If you report a stolen debit card before it is used, you are not liable for charges.

Avoiding Debit Card Overcharges

To avoid being overcharged or held liable for incorrect or fraudulent charges, it is recommended that consumers use credit cards instead of debit cards when possible. Due to certain restrictions, credit cards are less likely to be substantially overcharged, and typically offer protection from certain types of charges. If you need to request a reversal to your debit card you should contact the merchant that authorized the charge.