My ATM card (I bank with TD Canada Trust) was stolen. At first the bank refused to reimburse the money stolen by the thieves. I wrote an appeal letter to the bank, asking them to reconsider their decision…and, thankfully, the bank reimbursed the stolen money after all.
I’m not sure how often banks reimburse money after ATM cards are stolen. If your bank refuses to reimburse your money, consider writing an appeal letter. Be polite and thoughtful. Try not to let your fear or anger overcome your request — and definitely don’t insult or threaten the bank employees!
If your ATM card was stolen and most of your ID was in it, make sure you protect yourself. Read Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards for a full list of ways to deal with stolen ATM debit and credit cards. The day my bank card was stolen, I called Equifax and TransUnion to prevent identity theft and stop the thieves from stealing more than my money. Now that my bank card has been stolen, it’s more difficult for me to borrow money, apply for a credit card, or do anything related to finances for the next six years.
My bank card was stolen when I was parked at Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, BC. I’d left my bag in the car; it contained my wallet, driver’s license, health care card, a RBC credit card, a TD Canada Trust credit card, a TD Canada Trust 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 wallets, purses and other possessions may not realize how much emotional and physical damage they’re doing. I hope the thieves who stole my bank card realize how much pain they caused. I know some perpetrators feel guilty and ashamed of their crimes. For example, when I was 18 the guy who broke into my apartment in the middle of the night and tried to assault me confessed to the cops nine months later. I hope the thieves who stole my bank card and money feel just as bad as that guy did.
If Your ATM Card is Stolen, Does the Bank Reimburse Your 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 sent my appeal letter, I received a phone 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).
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.
How to Keep Your Bank 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.
If your ATM card was stolen, I hope your bank immediately and cheerfully reimburses your money! May you be protected from identity theft and other crimes associated with stolen bank and credit cards.
Are you struggling financially? Read 3 Ways to Cope With Fear of Running Out of Money.
Your comments – big and little – are welcome below.