Checking | Auto Loans | Mortgage | HELOC | Personal Loans | Credit Cards | Membership

Can you dispute charges on a debit card?

Yes, it is possible to dispute a debit card charge; however, the process isn't as straightforward as disputing charges on a credit card.
Disputing a debit card charge can be necessary due to fraud, merchant billing errors, etc. If for any reason you wish to dispute a charge on your debit card, first contact the merchant to see if you can resolve the problem. If the merchant can’t or is unwilling to assist, you can act by sending a dispute letter to your debit card issuer at the address listed for billing disputes, errors, or inquiries.
At Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), we make it easy to get debit a card.
Call 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn about our mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, checking and savings accounts, and other banking products. As a full-service financial institution, we look forward to helping you with all your banking needs.

Get Started on Your Checking Account Today!

What are debit cards and how do they work?

A debit card is a type of banking card that is typically connected to a checking account held at a credit union, bank, or other financial institution. A debit card is convenient to have because it provides you with access to your money at ATMs across the U.S. and around the world. You may also be able to get cash back as part of your transaction at certain retailers when making in-store purchases.
The difference between a debit card and a credit card is that all purchases made with a debit card will immediately withdraw the funds from the checking account the card is connected to. All purchases made with a credit card are charged to the credit card account and a monthly bill statement is sent to the consumer.

What are debit card disputes and chargebacks?

You may already be familiar with credit card disputes and how to initiate that process, and a debit card dispute is no different. A dispute may be initiated when a consumer finds an error on their debit card statement. Some common reasons for disputing a debit card charge include fraudulent charges, a charge in the wrong amount, being charged for an item you didn't receive, being charged twice, or you returned an item but didn't receive credit.
A transaction dispute is the first step where the charge is investigated, while chargebacks represent a possible outcome to a disputed charge.
If a debit card dispute is successful you will likely receive a chargeback, which is
when the payment amount is returned to your debit card.

Chargebacks vs. voided charges: what's the difference?

A successful debit card dispute that results in a chargeback means the charge will be reversed and the refunded payment goes back into your checking account.
A voided debit card transaction is a transaction that is not completed and is canceled before it is processed by your bank. Because money is not deducted from your checking account, no action needs to be taken.

How to dispute a debit card transaction

Disputing a debit card charge related to fraud should be reported to your credit union or bank immediately, whether your card was lost, stolen, or is still in your possession.
It’s important to note that there are times when your debit card could be declined even when you have money in your account.
When it comes to disputing a debit card charge, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that the consumer protections for debit cards are different from the protections for credit cards. You may not be able to get a refund for non-delivery or delivery of the wrong item. Contact your debit card issuer—often your bank—as soon as you know there’s a problem. Some debit card issuers may voluntarily offer protection.
Start by calling the customer service number. Follow up with a letter. This sample letter for disputing credit and debit card charges can help.
Be sure your dispute letter includes:

  • Your name
  • Your bank account number
  • The date of the disputed charge
  • The amount you are disputing
  • A short, clear explanation of why you believe the charge is incorrect
  • Copies of any documents supporting your dispute claim

Reasons to dispute a debit card charge

Here are some of the most common for disputing a debit card charge:
  • Fraudulent transactions. These are transactions not made by you or any of the authorized users on your account (such as your spouse or child).
  • Double charges. This is when you are accidentally charged twice for the same purchase.
  • Incorrect charges. It is possible that a merchant could charge an amount different than what is shown on your purchase receipt.
  • Purchases weren't delivered. You’ve made an online purchase, and your items are not delivered.
  • Purchases were damaged. You’ve made an online purchase, and your items arrived damaged.

How long do debit card disputes take?

Resolving a debit card dispute may vary in resolution time depending on various factors, such as whether the disputed charge is the result of fraud or a merchant error or other issue.
You have up to 60 days to dispute a fraudulent transaction on your debit card before the liability rests solely on you. The time frame guidelines may depend on whether your debit card was lost or stolen or if it's still in your possession.

By law, billing errors must be disputed in writing within 60 days of the date that the first statement with the billing error is sent to you.

How long do I have to dispute a debit card charge?

Federal laws that protect consumers and govern the way disputes must be handled include these timeframes:
  • Within 30 days of getting your complaint, the card issuer must acknowledge it in writing, unless the problem has been resolved.
  • Within 90 days of getting your complaint, the card issuer must resolve the dispute.

What should I do if my credit union or bank denies my dispute?

According to the FTC, you may appeal the decision within the timeframe the issuer gives you for payment or 10 days of getting the explanation, whichever is later. If you want to appeal, write to the issuer, and tell them that you refuse to pay because you still dispute the billing error. But know that, at this point, the issuer can begin collection procedures. You may also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How to avoid debit card disputes

When it comes to fraud-related incidents, here are steps you can take to prevent debit card fraud: (LINK TO
Monitor account activity. Check your account activity weekly to see if there are purchases or withdrawals not made by you. Report any unusual activity to your financial institution immediately.
Set up alerts. Your credit union or bank representative can help you set up mobile and online features to set up alerts and notifications that can be sent to you if an unusual activity is present on your card or account.
Protect your PIN. Your PIN (personal identification number) is the key to using your debit card to access your bank accounts. Never give your PIN to a stranger or random caller, or anyone you don’t know or trust. Do not carry your PIN in your wallet with your debit card.

Consider using a credit card. Credit cards are convenient and safe options for purchases everywhere you shop. While debit cards have secure features, for added security, consider using a credit card to make purchases. Using a credit card can also earn you reward points and cash back.
Use multi-factor authentication. This feature can also be set up from a mobile device or by logging into your online account. This type of account authentication system adds a second step when you log into your account. In addition to entering your password, a system-generated code is sent to you by email or text, and you will need to enter the code that is sent to you to log in. This ensures that no one else can get into your account.
Practice good cyber hygiene. Keeping all these tips in mind and making smart choices when using your debit card will help you avoid different types of debit card fraud and fraudulent charges on your debit card.

Why savvy consumers choose CU SoCal

For over 60 years CU SoCal has been providing financial services, including mortgages, Home Equity Loans, HELOCs, car loans, personal loans, credit cards, and other banking products, to those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation loan consultation with a CU SoCal Member Services specialist.

Get Started on Your Checking Account Today!

Help + Support


Co-Browsing Code

Building Better Lives

Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


562.698.8326 | 866 CU SoCal Se Habla Español