Who is liable for the theft of the debit card – bank or customer

Tuesday, 20.05.14, written by editor

EC cards are today the constant companion of all paying customers. If money or credit cards are stolen, the owner must act quickly and have them blocked. If necessary, he himself must be liable for the damage incurred after the theft of the debit card. This confirms now a current judgment of the Munich district court.



Wer haftet beim Verlust der EC-Karte
Loss of credit or debit card can be expensive

Anyone who suffers damage after the theft of the debit card quickly asks who is liable for it. A series of judgments in recent years shows that the person being stolen must pay for the financial loss, if he appears to be responsible for it. This may be the case if a third-party billing is made very quickly after the cardholder’s last withdrawal. For the banks, this means that the defendant must have kept his PIN together with the debit card or observed when entering the PIN. Otherwise, the chances of guessing the PIN in three attempts would be 1 to 3,333, the Stiftung Warentest reports.

If the debit card is stolen: when is the bank liable?

According to the current judgment of the Munich District Court (Ref .: 121 C 10360/12), therefore, the stolen pensioner is left with the costs incurred by the theft. The perpetrators were able to deduct 2,000 euros from their account within a short time before the woman had her money card blocked. The 76-year-old said in court, not to have jointly kept PIN and debit card. However, the burden of proof that he did not do so lies with her and can scarcely be proven in this case.

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Stated cash card: who is liable for gross negligence?

The pensioner is not alone with the financial loss after theft of Girocard. Banks are not liable even for the financial loss in the event of loss of the cash card, if Beklauten can be charged with grossly negligent behavior. Various national courts see this fulfilled if the debit card is left behind in an unattended car, for example. Even those who put the money or credit card into their jacket pocket instead of their purse act negligently. If somebody observes when entering his PIN, he also has to pay for the costs incurred after the theft of the girocard.

How safe are EC and credit cards?

Even though the Munich district court has absolved the bank of the stolen pensioner of their liability – it remains questionable how safe money and credit cards and cashless payments really are. Banks indicate that EC cards are sufficiently protected by PIN, Triple DES encryption and magnetic stripe. However, the fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The so-called skimming allowed them in recent years to read electronic data from debit cards. In 2012, for example, 521 ATMs were attacked 872 times in Germany.

Victims of a debit card should inform their bank as soon as possible or block their card with a 24-hour hotline. The phone number for blocking all cards, including EC and Maestro cards, is +49 116 116.

Author: Jessica D’Ovidio



editorial staff

editorial staff




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