Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to settle a credit card row and save your score

How to settle a credit card row and save your score


What is the first step a bank takes when you apply for a home loan? It runs a check on your credit history.

The loan is approved only if the applicant's credit rating is good.

One may not have taken a big loan or, for that matter, any loan in the past. But, a credit card dispute, however small, could hit a person's credit rating.

Here is what you should do in case of a dispute.



What are the common disputes?


Unauthorised charges/transactions appearing on the bill

Transactions billed for goods/services the customer had not accepted or were not delivered as agreed upon by the merchant

Duplicate processing of a transaction due to a communication failure between the issuing bank and merchant systems

Transaction amount billed to the customer differing from the transaction authorised by the customer

Transactions cancelled by the customer but reversals not received by the bank

Transactions done on the card when the card was in



How to register a complaint?


STEP 1: A customer can register a complaint over a dispute by calling the call centre of the credit card issuer either via a phone or e-mail, or through written correspondence

STEP 2: The customer's grievance redressal details are updated on the bank's /card issuer's website

STEP 3: Alternatively, the customer can also write to the nodal officer of the issuing bank. Nodal officers' contact details are updated on banks' websites, and are provided in the monthly statements, at atms and branches.



How to tackle a dispute?


STEP 1: Notify the credit card company in writing about the complaint, giving details of all the transactions that are disputed. This can be done by filling the customer dispute form that is readily available on most banks' websites

STEP 2: This confirmation of the dispute has to reach the bank concerned within 60 days from the date of the transaction being questioned. Hence, it is imperative to confirm the dispute to the bank as soon as one gets intimation about a transaction that has not been carried out or not authorised

STEP 3: Try to gather any relevant charge slip before engaging in a dispute. These can often speed up resolution

STEP 4: Try to resolve the disputed transaction with the merchant first

STEP 5: Get a confirmation in the form of a complaint number or reference number, for receipt of the complaint from the card issuing bank

Most disputes get resolved. But if a dispute persists, then the bank may initiate arbitration proceedings against the merchant's bank and may decide to give credit to the customer's account.



How to prove a fraudulent transaction?


STEP 1: A fraud that involves unauthorised swiping of cards when the physical card is in possession of the genuine card holder is called skimming or counterfeit card fraud

STEP 2: This theft of information stored on the magnetic stripe at the back of the credit card happens when a fraudster is successful in copying data from the magnetic stripe using an electronic device (skimmer)

STEP 3: If you learn of unauthorised use of your credit card despite the card being in your possession, call the issuing bank and block the card immediately

STEP 4: Get all details regarding the fraud, like the place and amount of transaction, etc. For eg, if the credit card has been misused abroad, the customer can furnish copy of the passport to establish that he/she had not visited the place when the fraud took place

STEP 5: Register a complaint about the fraud and forward a customer dispute form with all details of the disputed transactions to the bank

STEP 6: After registering your dispute with the bank, insist on a complaint reference number, which will ensure that the dispute is registered and will be processed further



What do banks do?


STEP 1: The bank, on receipt of a customer dispute form, initiates investigation into the transaction. It follows Visa/Mastercard guidelines along with its internal process guidelines for resolving disputes.

STEP 2: Depending on the type of transaction, a bank would initiate charge-slip retrieval, which could include seeking supporting documents from the merchant's bank or raising a chargeback wherever applicable.

STEP 3: Dispute resolution can take 30-45 days. Most disputes get settled, but if a dispute persists, then the bank may initiate arbitration proceedings against the merchant's bank and may decide to give credit to the customer's account





1. Check your monthly statements received from the bank and tally them with the card usage during the month

2. If you find any unauthorised transaction, block your credit card and intimate the bank concerned immediately

3. Forward the customer dispute form with complete details of the transaction to the card issuer

4. Check the subsequent account statement to confirm if the disputed transaction has been taken up for necessary investigation



A word of caution


Co-operate with your bank by providing complete information/documentation promptly. This will help the bank to initiate the process to resolve the dispute. Ensure the bank initiates the dispute process - when the process is started, the disputed transaction will be temporarily excluded from your outstanding payable to the bank.

If the dispute is resolved, does that solve your problem? No, that's not the end of the issue. For instance, let us assume you filed a complaint about some unauthorised transaction on your credit card. You wouldn't have paid for the wrong billing. This could have affected your credit score. Hence, always cross-check with all the entities concerned to ensure if the matter is resolved to avoid complications in future.