Debit Card Stolen, How Much Are You Liable For?

Federal law limits your liability to $50 if your credit card is stolen, but what about your debit card? It all depends on how fast you report it; the sooner the better, and if you wait too long, you’re totally screwed.

Date Reported | Your Liability

Before it’s used | none
Within 2 days | $50
After 2 days but before 60 | $500
After 60 | Everything

Your card issuer may have more generous limits, but don’t bet on it. File a report with your bank the instant you discover your card left your possession, or if you spot charges on your statement you didn’t make. — BEN POPKEN

[via Consumer Action Handbook]
(Photo: Sam Wilkinson)

UPDATE: Bryan writes:

    “You’ve got it slightly wrong…Unlimited liability begins 60 days after the date of mailing of a written statement. All of the other liability is measured not from the date reported but from the date of discovery of the theft or unauthorized use. For instance, if you discover and report the theft before any unauthorized usage, then you have no liability. If you discover the theft, but don’t report it at the end of the second day after discovery, you are liable for up to $50. If you discover the theft but wait past the third day to report it, you are liable to up to $500 worth of debt. Whether or not you discover the theft, if you don’t bother to read your statement and report the theft within 60 days of it’s mailing, then you’re liable for everything. Check out the FTC for a fairly clear reading of the law…”