The Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) establishes procedures for resolving mistakes on electronic fund transfer account statements, including:
- Electronic fund transfers that you have not made;
- Incorrect electronic fund transfers;
- Omitted electronic fund transfers;
- Failure to reflect electronic fund transfers properly;
- Electronic fund transfers for which you request an explanation or documentation because of a possible error.
The EFTA applies to electronic fund transfers, including those involving ATMs, debit transactions, and other electronic banking transactions resulting in the withdrawal of cash from your account.
How Do I Take Advantage of the EFTA?
There are certain steps that you should take under the EFTA if you believe there are errors with your account statements. These include:
- Notify your financial institution no later than 60 days after the statement was sent.
- Follow-up in writing.
- Regarding retail purchases, your financial institution has up to 10 business days to investigate after receiving your notice. Within three days of completing its investigation, your financial institution must tell you the results.
- Any error must be corrected within one business day after determining there is an error.
- A financial institution may take up to 90 days to complete its investigation if it needs more time, but it must return the money in dispute to your account while the investigation continues.
What Do I Do if I Lost or Somebody Stole My EFT Card?
When your credit card is lost or stolen, your loss is limited to $50 per card. With an EFT card, your liability for unauthorized withdrawal can vary based on a number of factors:
- You may be limited to $50 if you notify the financial institution within two business days of learning of the loss.
- You could lose up to $500 if you do not tell the card issuer within two business days.
- You could lose all the money in your account (plus your maximum overdraft line of credit) if you do not report an unauthorized transfer on your statement within 60 days after the statement is sent to you.
It should also be noted that the EFTA forbids a creditor from requiring you to repay a loan or other credit by EFT (with some exceptions). In other words, you are not required to use EFT.
Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with Credit Issues?
A lawyer may be helpful in guiding you through the various provisions of the EFTA. A bankrupt lawyer can help inform you of the risks of using EFT and what rights you have when you do decide to use it.