26 Nov 2009

Consumers urged to understand credit, debit cards

9:18 am on 26 November 2009

Two banking experts are urging consumers to make sure they understand the rules for bank credit and debit cards, following a scam involving Auckland car park customers.

Patrons of Downtown, Victoria St and Civic carparks who used credit card payment machines have found unauthorised sums on their credit card bills.

Debit cards are marketed as suitable for online shopping or overseas trips. But Daniel Ayers of the security firm, Elementary Solutions says the cards, which act as both credit and eftpos cards can be risky, because the money comes straight out of people's accounts.

He says he struck problems when a rental car company claimed the right to charge him a huge excess after an accident, saying it had his details and could bill what it liked. He says the bank initially backed the rental company, but both were wrong.

The Director of Massey University's Banking Studies Centre, David Tripe, says he battled his bank for four months, after a bill charged to a university credit card was instead charged to his personal account.

A Kiwibank spokesperson says debit cards enjoy the same protections as credit cards in cases of fraud or unauthorised charges.