Handling billing or transaction errors

Need to dispute a billing or transaction error with your bank or card? Here’s how.

Banks and credit card companies take security and the potential for fraud very seriously. Many use sophisticated technology like artificial intelligence and algorithms to keep an eye on your accounts, which explains why you may get a call or email alert when suspicious activity occurs. For example, if charges are made in regions or countries far from your home, or spending that doesn’t fit your typical spending pattern is detected, this sends a red flag that something might not be right.

Despite this, fraud can still occur. Ultimately, you are your own best defense. You can be vigilant by

  • Carefully reviewing your credit card and bank statements
  • Keeping an eye out for charges you don’t recognize—it’s the best way to catch mistakes and potential fraud.

If you see a charge you’re unsure of on your account, contact your bank or credit card company and let them know. Sometimes, a merchant might use a name different from its “doing business as” (DBA) name that you don’t recognize, or a delayed charge won’t match a date you recall. They should be able to help you identify if it’s fraudulent or not.

To dispute a billing or transaction error with a merchant, you’ll want to file a charge dispute. Provide the company with as much detail as you can about the charge, including any related receipts and your attempt to resolve the issue with the merchant. If the dispute cannot be handled over the phone, you may be required to complete a form in writing, sign it, and return it by mail.

Tips for disputing a charge

  • Gather any relevant receipts before you call. It can be helpful to have copies of your receipts available to share with the merchant or send to your card issuer to help speed up the resolution.
  • Be sure the charge is not a result of identity theft. If there are any charges on your bill that you don’t recognize, you may be a victim of identity theft or fraud. Review all transactions carefully as criminals may attempt small charges to “test” accounts before attempting larger scale fraud. Call your card company and bank immediately to report the potential fraud.
  • Know your liability for fraudulent charges. Some cards have zero liability policies, while others will cap the amount. For example, you may be liable for the first $50 in fraudulent charges.

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