Thumbs Up to Heritage Building Society

Today, I got the shock of my life to learn someone in America had access to my credit card and used it to pay for goods worth over six thousand dollars. My financial institution phoned me this morning to inform me of this unfortunate incident. I was stunned by the fact that someone had the cheek to steal my visa details from who knows where, test it first to see if it worked by making a one dollar payment then they decided to go for the big amounts increasing the money spent each day.

Thankfully, a conscientious employee was able to see I'd spent money in Victoria at the same time as the transactions happened in America. He put one and one together and thought how could this be? I like people who think. He could quite easily have shrugged and said it's none of my business. I have high praise for this employee because his work isn't only a job to him, it's about caring for the people's accounts he looks after. When I received the phone call he gave me details of the transactions and also took the time to explain how this unfortunate incident happened and how I could best deal with the situation because I'm travelling in a caravan and don't have easy access to a printer, photocopier and a Justice of the Peace. His kindness and helpfulness couldn't be faulted.

My opinions of financial institutions have changed as from this moment because Heritage is picking up the tab for these transactions that weren't mine. Also this morning there were four other people whose cards were hit, apart from mine. One in America, one in France and he didn't tell me where the others were. Their system showed they were legitimate transactions. Someone had stolen my visa card number and stamped the details on another card possibly with a bogus logo on the front of the card. This is fraud, of course, but when the card was presented for the goods it went through the cyberspace transaction highway and according to Heritage everything was kosher so the confirmation went back to the American store and the fraudster was able to pick up the goods and take them home.

I learned today that if I can prove a transaction in dispute is legitimate, the financial institution accepts responsiblity for the transaction going through, and they pay for the incorrect transactions.

That's right no cost to me!

I was astonished to learn this because these transactions will be the first that I'm disputing in the thirty odd years I've held a credit card account. All those fees the financial institutions charge are beginning to make sense to me. They have to pay money for the fraudsters of this world who rip off innocent customers. I'm now wondering how much this type of fraud costs us customers. If we could find a way to stop these criminals, I wonder how much less we'd pay in fees. The fraudster charged over six thousand on my card, if they did it on the other four cards for similar amounts that's twenty-four thousand dollars the financial institutions have to find for today. If this happens every day .... I'll let you do the sums.

From now on I'll be less inclined to bash financial institutions because I didn't know half of what goes on behind the scenes in their day. Fraud is a huge cost the average customer has to pay for through monthly fees. Wouldn't it be great if we could stamp out the fraud, and pay fewer fees and interest?