Keep your card and pin safe

While Elijah was on holiday in Europe, he used his travel card to purchase drinks at a bar. One of the people Elijah was with said they needed to take his card up to the bar to confirm the payment. Elijah gave the person his card, and they returned around 15 minutes later.

When Elijah got back to his hotel later that night, he checked the card’s transaction history. Elijah saw that during the 15 minutes the person had his card, they withdrew 3,000EUR at an ATM. Elijah immediately froze his card and reported the fraudulent transactions to the card issuer. 

The card issuer reviewed the dispute, but they declined to refund the transactions. The card issuer said they could not confirm that the transactions were unauthorised because the money was withdrawn at an ATM using Elijah’s card and PIN. The card issuer deactivated Elijah’s account.

Elijah maintained that the transactions were unauthorised. Elijah said he suspected that the EFTPOS machine he used at the bar was not a genuine machine, and that this is how the person found out his PIN. Elijah sent the card issuer a copy of the police report he had filed, and explained that he had asked the police for CCTV footage from the ATM.


Elijah said that he was a victim of fraud, and he thought that the card issuer should refund the transactions.

The card issuer reviewed the dispute again, but they did not change their mind. The card issuer maintained that they would not refund the transactions because Elijah had not kept his card safe. The card issuer explained that Elijah had breached the card’s terms and conditions by allowing another person to use his card and know his PIN.  


We agreed that Elijah had not complied with the card’s terms and conditions. We found that Elijah did not keep his card safe because he allowed another person, who he did not know well, to take possession of his card for around 15 minutes.  

It was clear that the person knew Elijah’s PIN, as it was entered correctly into the ATM. Elijah thought that the person got his PIN from a fraudulent EFTPOS machine. We thought it was more likely that the person either watched Elijah enter his PIN when he purchased the drinks, or that Elijah told the person his PIN when he gave them his card to take up to the bar.

The card’s terms and conditions stated that the cardholder must not let anyone access their account or watch them accessing their account. As it appeared likely that the person at least watched Elijah enter his PIN, we found that Elijah had not complied with the card’s terms and conditions.

As Elijah had breached the card’s terms and conditions, and failed to keep his card safe, we found that the card issuer was not obliged to refund the transactions.

We suggested that Elijah discontinue his complaint. Elijah agreed to do so.

Insights for consumers

It is important that consumers keep their travel cards safe, and in their possession at all times. Allowing another person to take possession of your card, even if it is only for a short period of time, will likely breach the card’s terms and conditions. Additionally, telling someone your PIN, or letting someone watch you enter your PIN, will also be a breach.

If you do not keep your card safe, or allow someone else to use or take possession of your card, the card issuer will not be obliged to refund any fraudulent transactions. Instead, you will be responsible for the loss.