Neesa Mood­ley

CityPress - - Business -

You switch the alarm on when you leave your house and you make sure your alarm is ac­ti­vated af­ter you park your car. But what safety pre­cau­tions are you tak­ing when it comes to your bankcard?

The Om­buds­man for Bank­ing Ser­vices, Clive Pil­lay, re­ceived 300 com­plaints re­lated to bankcard fraud dur­ing the course of last year, an in­crease of 20% from 2014.

Chair­per­son of the Om­buds­man for Bank­ing Ser­vices John Myburgh says a new devel­op­ment is on the cards in terms of pro­tect­ing your money with a card that will al­low you to cre­ate a credit card num­ber on your cell­phone and use it for on­line pur­chases, gen­er­at­ing a vir­tual credit card for each on­line pur­chase you make.

How­ever, while the banks are tak­ing mea­sures to re­duce fraud, the onus re­mains on you, the con­sumer, to en­sure that you keep your bank­ing de­tails safe so that you can­not be ac­cused of neg­li­gence.

An­other is­sue that came up dur­ing the past year was that of unau­tho­rised debit or­ders. Myburgh noted that the Pay­ments As­so­ci­a­tion of SA had plans to im­ple­ment a sys­tem of au­then­ti­cated col­lec­tions, which means that banks will be able to ver­ify whether or not a debit or­der has been au­tho­rised by the ac­count holder.

“As the new wave of con­sumer ac­tivism gains mo­men­tum, I be­lieve that the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man for Bank­ing Ser­vices will re­main im­por­tant.

“South African con­sumers are be­com­ing more aware of their rights and are gain­ing con­fi­dence in tak­ing on in­sti­tu­tions when they [the con­sumers] are treated un­fairly,” he says. 1 Don’t pin it on the bank: The com­plainant’s bankcard and driver’s li­cence went miss­ing. When she re­ported her card miss­ing, she found that fraud­u­lent with­drawals had al­ready been made from her ac­count.

Al­though she had not re­vealed her PIN to any­one, she told the bank­ing om­buds­man that she had cho­sen to use the first five dig­its of her iden­tity num­ber as her PIN.

Her com­plaint against the bank was dis­missed on the grounds that she had been neg­li­gent in choos­ing her PIN.

Ac­cord­ing to the Code of Bank­ing Prac­tice, a con­sumer should never use a PIN that can be eas­ily guessed, such as a birth date. 2 Don’t spend money that isn’t yours: In this case, the com­plainant’s over­draft fa­cil­ity was R10 000, but be­cause of a sys­tem er­ror at the bank, he was able to ac­cess more than R100 000. He spent the money by mak­ing cash with­drawals and point-of-sale trans­ac­tions. He told the om­buds­man that he had nei­ther asked for a cred­itlimit in­crease nor was there any agree­ment to re­store his credit limit af­ter he had made use of the in­creased fa­cil­ity.

The om­buds­man found that the bank was guilty of grant­ing credit reck­lessly as no af­ford­abil­ity cal­cu­la­tions had been car­ried out. How­ever, the com­plainant had used and de­rived ben­e­fit from the in­creased funds.

The om­buds­man or­dered the com­plainant to re­pay the full amount he had used, and the bank to write off all as­so­ci­ated fees and charges.

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