Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

September 30, 2005 10:12 ET

Important information for debit card users

FCAC advises consumers of changes to debit card code Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Lifestyle Editor OTTAWA/ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 30, 2005) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is advising consumers to be aware of important changes, effective today, to the industry code of conduct that outlines practices to protect Canadians from liability in cases of debit card fraud or unauthorized transactions.

The debit card code, formally titled the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services, stipulates that under certain conditions, consumers will not be held liable for unauthorized use of their debit card. The code has been revised to clarify the procedures for addressing unauthorized transactions and other transaction problems. Among the changes to the code are the following.

-A new limit has been set for how long the financial institution has to investigate unauthorized transactions and respond to the consumer. The financial institution that issued the personal identification number (PIN) to the cardholder will investigate reports of unauthorized transactions and respond to the consumer as soon as possible, but within a maximum of 10 business days.

-In cases where the PIN issuer asks for a statement or affidavit from the cardholder during the investigation, there may be a temporary suspension of the 10-day time limit until the financial institution receives the signed statement or affidavit.

-In cases where the PIN issuer decides that not all funds should be reimbursed to the consumer, the PIN issuer is responsible for showing that, on the balance of probabilities, the cardholder contributed to the unauthorized use of the card.

-The cardholder must be given information, in writing, on how the dispute resolution process works if the problem cannot be settled when the cardholder first complains or if he or she contacts the PIN issuer to indicate that they have not received a response to their claim.

FCAC will be monitoring banks' compliance with the voluntary code, which has been agreed to by banks, caisses populaires, and endorsed by Credit Union Central of Canada.

Banks have also committed to apply the principles of the debit card code to online payments from consumer deposit accounts. FCAC will be monitoring this voluntary commitment as well.

For more information on these and other codes of conduct, consumers can contact FCAC toll-free by calling: 1-866-461-3222. Consumer may also visit the Consumer Protection section of the Agency's Web site (

FCAC ensures compliance with the consumer protection laws that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also provides consumers with accurate and objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with federally regulated financial institutions.

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Media contacts:

Martine Bélanger Christina McDonald
Communications Officer Communications Officer
(613) 941-8982 (613) 941-4168

/For further information: Media may also contact Mme. Martine Bélanger at: 613 941-8982 or by e-mail: IN: FINANCE

Contact Information

  • Christina McDonald, Communications Officer, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)
    Primary Phone: 613-941-4168
    Toll-Free: 866-461-3222