My ATM Card Was Stolen – Will the Bank Reimburse My Money?

Here’s what happened to me when my ATM bank card from TD Canada Trust was stolen. My bank almost didn’t reimburse my money – until I wrote an appeal letter, asking them to reconsider their decision.

bank card stolen

My ATM Card Was Stolen – Will the Bank Reimburse My Money?

If the thieves who stole my purse use my ATM (debit) card to access my TD Canada Trust checking or savings account, will the bank reimburse the stolen money?

This actually happened to me: I was parked at Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver in August, and my purse was stolen from my vehicle. Those dirty rotten SOBs stole my wallet, which contained my driver’s license, health care card, a RBC credit card, a TD Canada Trust credit card, a TD Canada Trust ATM or debit card, 2 Tim Horton’s gift cards, my library card, and my photo ID card from the Kenyan government from when I lived in Africa.

In my purse was also my work cell phone, work keys, daytimer, pictures of me and my Little Sister, and various other personal items that mean a lot to me, which the thieves probably burned, buried, or broke. The worst part was that they have my driver’s license and my address, and I lived in fear for about a week after it was stolen. I thought they’d break into my house in the middle of the night. My husband was on a business trip that week, and I slept for about two hours each night.

Thieves who steal purses don’t know the emotional and physical damage they’re doing. I hope my thieves are tortured by their consciences – and I know that happens because the guy who broke into my apartment and tried to rape me when I was 18 confessed to the cops nine months later, because he felt so bad! I’m praying that the thieves who stole my purse feel just as tortured. I believe with all my heart that they feel bad about stealing my stuff, and they’ll deal with some sort of consequences now or later.

If your ATM card was stolen and most of your ID was in it, read Stopping Identity Theft: 10 Easy Steps to Security. I had to call Equifax and TransUnion to prevent the thieves from stealing more than my money. It’ll be a pain to borrow money, apply for a credit card, or do anything related to finances for the next six years…but at least I don’t have to worry about identity theft.

Anyway, on to the real question…

If Your ATM Card is Stolen, Does the Bank Reimburse the Money?

It depends. When I called in the theft on my RBC credit card (Visa), they immediately said they’d reimburse the stolen money. When I called it in on my TD Visa credit card, they said they’d have to investigate. I had to visit TD Canada Trust in person to deal with the stolen ATM card – the thieves withdrew over $1,400 from my chequing account. Bastards. TD Canada Trust said they’d have to investigate before deciding whether or not to reimburse me; a month later, they sent a letter saying their investigation revealed that the person who used my TD Access card was able to determine my Personal Identification Number (PIN). Thus, the financial loss is my responsibility.

I appealed this decision via a letter, and they decided to reimburse me! O happy happy day! Read the letter I faxed to TD Canada Trust in How to Write an Appeal Letter to Your Bank.

Four days after I faxed my appeal letter, I got a call from the lady at TD Canada Trust’s Fraud Department (Debbie). She said they have to guard against people who pretend their ATM debit cards or credit cards are stolen, and submit a false claim to the bank. The bank also can’t be responsible for paying back the financial losses of people who have PINs that are easily accessible or easily guessed. Debbie asked several questions about my PIN to determine how culpable I am, and said that they will reimburse my stolen money this time. She also told me to change my PIN frequently, shield my PIN when entering it at an ATM machine, and never choose a PIN that is in any way related to my life (eg, birthdays, phone numbers, etc).

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If your ATM card is stolen, your bank is much more likely to reimburse the money if your PIN was not easily accessible or easily guessed. The bank can also tell how many times the thieves tried to access your account, and whether or not the account activity is normal. The more abnormal the activity, the more likely your bank will reimburse your money.

Tips for Keeping Your ATM Card Safe

  • Select unique PIN and passwords for each of your banking cards
  • Select unique code (numbers, letters or a combination) that you can remember. Do NOT select your birth date, telephone number, license plate, address or other easy to guess combinations.
  • Memorize your PIN and passwords, DO NOT write them down or tell anyone what they are.
  • Be sure to keep your bank card in sight at all times during a transaction and NEVER lend it to anyone.
  • Remember to shield the keypad when entering your PIN at a banking machine or when making a purchase at Points of Sale Terminals.
  • Regularly check your statements to verify that all transactions have been properly documented. Contact the bank with any discrepancies.

These tips on how to avoid going through what I went through are from ScotiaBank.

If you have any comments or questions about stolen ATM cards, please share below! Especially if you’ve had experience with banks reimbursing stolen money…


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2 thoughts on “My ATM Card Was Stolen – Will the Bank Reimburse My Money?

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thanks for your comments, Danielle! I hadn’t thought about asking for video surveillance footage of the crooks who stole my debit card. I suspect they wouldn’t give me it, but it might’ve been worth it to ask.

    It took me a long time to recover from the theft, and I’m happy TD Bank reimbursed the stolen money. I wish you all the best as you figure out what to do about your theft.


  • danielle

    First of all, what a horrible thing to do!!! I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you, I just can’t believe there are people out there with the audacity to do such terrible things! Something similar, albeit not nearly as scary has happened to me recently. I am also with TD (but in Ontario), and I’m wondering if they ever offered to show you video surveillance footage of the crooks? My boyfriend keeps telling me it doesn’t matter who they are, because it is not my responsibility to bring them to justice. I just feel like I would sleep better at night knowing what these jerks look like. So far I have only called in to TD to begin the process, and have been to the bank to get a new card. But I can’t seem to shake my anger over this!
    Thanks for sharing your story!