17th September 2015
New research from consumer group Which? has revealed that three in five of its members have experienced bank fraud.
The watchdog also concluded that banks can be inconsistent when it comes to handling such claims.
The group surveyed more than 3,000 people about their experiences and worryingly 59% had experienced fraud, with 64% of these having been targeted in the last two years.
On a more positive note, a quarter of cardholders lost nothing as transactions were blocked but when money was taken, victims initially lost £624 on average for credit cards and £677 for debit cards.
Almost all victims got their money back eventually, and most banks reimbursed 64% of card victims within a week. However, 29% of victims in its survey were kept waiting between one and four weeks, with 7% waiting even longer.
Which? asked members to rate their credit or debit card provider’s overall response to dealing with bank fraud. Debit cardholders were, on average, less satisfied with the overall response from their provider with 81% saying ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, compared with 86% of credit card holders.
If consumers are not happy with how their complaint is being handled, they can refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). When Which? submitted a Freedom of Information request to the FOS, it found that around one in four complaints relating to fraud and disputed transactions are upheld in the customers’ favour.
Barclays/Barclaycard were ordered to pay up in 56% of cases whilst 47% of Santander customers were wrongly denied compensation, compared with just 22% for NatWest.
The FOS told Which? that whilst it has seen some improvements, in many cases banks have based their decisions ‘on a hunch’, without conducting a full investigation.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “With fraud rates on the rise, it’s encouraging to see the vast majority of victims got their money back. Banks have a duty to resolve cases of fraud quickly and can only delay a refund if there is suspicion of wrongdoing. If you’ve been denied a refund by your bank you should escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.”