In our busy lives today convenience and speed are key. Checkbooks are cumbersome to carry and it takes extra time to write out a check and have it verified by the cashier. In addition, many people pay bills and make purchases electronically using the internet. As a result, consumers are writing fewer checks and using their debit cards more. At Oregon Community Bank and Trust we are happy to provide our customers with debit cards, but we want to remind our customers that a debit card is a privilege and as such there is some responsibility involved in owning and using a debit card.
In recent months there has been a substantial increase in debit card fraud. Much of the fraud has been caused by criminal activity unrelated to misuse of the card. However, there are incidences of debit card fraud that could have been avoided if proper security guidelines had been followed. Oregon Community Bank and Trust customers are not liable for debit card fraud as long as the loss of the card and/or fraudulent transactions are reported in a timely manner. Once a debit card transaction has been “authorized”, which means the merchant has communicated with the ATM/debit card network and gotten an approval, (which is just a verification of a sufficient balance), it cannot be reversed except in rare circumstances. Unfortunately, the funds involved in fraudulent transactions are seldom recovered. It is up to the issuing financial institution to absorb the costs associated with debit card fraud. This leads to higher fees for all banking customers. Please keep in mind that if fraud occurs due to misuse of the card, the bank reserves the right to refuse replacement of the card.
In an effort to keep our customers’ cards secure and bank fees to a minimum we ask that you follow the below guidelines when using your debit card:
- Keep your card in a secure place at all times and notify the bank immediately if your card is lost or stolen.
- Never let anyone else use your card or PIN, do not write your PIN on the card.
- Avoid using your debit card online. Use a credit card or a direct debit to your checking account (sometimes referred to as an online check). Credit card transactions and checking account transactions can be reversed in the case of fraud and you have greater legal protection if goods are defective or don’t arrive.
- Don’t use your debit card to purchase items from infomercials or 800 number television ads. These types of merchants are known for double billing and enrolling customers in subscription services that are only noted in very fine print.
- Do not use your debit card for online payment services. Use your checking account number or a credit card.
- Notify the bank immediately if you notice transactions on your account that you don’t recognize. We can help you to verify the charges and we can close the card immediately to eliminate further fraud if necessary.
If you are traveling out of the area please let us know. We can note travel dates and locations on your card record in order to avoid any disruption in your use of the card.