Credit card fraud: Your rights and responsibilities

Certain types of protection may be available to you if you are a victim of credit card fraud. By law, if your card is issued by a federally regulated financial institution (FRFI), your credit card agreement must explain your maximum liability (no more than $50) in the case of a lost or stolen credit card, or the unauthorized use of your credit card number.

Fraud protection

American Express, MasterCard and Visa also provide protection to cardholders beyond the maximum liability indicated in their credit card agreements. They do this under public commitments: the “Zero Liability Policy” in the case of Visa and MasterCard, and the Fraud Protection Guarantee in the case of American Express.

Under these commitments, if your credit card is lost or stolen, or if someone uses your credit card number to make transactions you didn’t authorize, you can usually be reimbursed.

The commitments apply to transactions made on the Internet, by phone or at a retailer’s place of business or location. However, they might not cover you in the case of fraud involving the use of your personal identification number (PIN)—for example, a cash advance received with your card at an automated banking machine (ABM). They might also exclude transactions made with convenience cheques or with corporate credit cards.

Check with your credit card issuer whether it has a fraud protection policy and how you can be protected. This type of policy is not usually listed in a credit card agreement since it is a public commitment, not a legal requirement. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) monitors adherence to the commitments.

For more details on the card issuer policies mentioned, see the credit card company websites:

Learn more about how to prevent credit card fraud and what to do if you become a victim.

What you should do if you feel your rights are not being respected

If you feel that a FRFI is not respecting your rights, contact FCAC.