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Reporting Fraud or Disputing Credit & Debit Card Transactions

Reporting Fraud or Disputing Credit & Debit Card Transactions


Reporting Fraud or Disputing Credit & Debit Card Transactions

Using credit and debit cards is an integral part of financial services. They give you the ability to have significant purchasing power without the need to carry wads of cash. They also have many security features and guarantees from issuers, that if you use your card according to the guidelines in place, that you can recover your money if lost, stolen, or otherwise misappropriated. However, no one wants to deal with fraudulent card activity or charges to a card that is not legitimate.

Recently we took some time to sit down with our Director of Payment Strategies and Digital Banking to hear about the process of submitting a claim of fraud on your account, disputing a credit/debit card transaction, what provisional credit is, and how all of this works for CSE members.

It is unfortunate when members are impacted by unauthorized transactions on their accounts, or have to dispute a transaction that never amounted to what they were promised. But the reality is that fraud and disputed transactions impact a significant number of Americans every day. Equally, those members who have not had to encounter this type of situation may have questions about the process of submitting a claim for a fraudulent transaction, or transaction that needs to be disputed, when suspicious activity appears on their statement.

We know this is not an enjoyable process, so our team offers assistance to make it as simple as possible.

To better understand what the process looks like we’ve broken it down step by step.


Interesting in learning about this process by video instead of by blog? You can watch our 3-part CSE Couch Chat Series on The Process of Fraud & Dispute Claims.

Part 1  - Part 2   - Part 3

or continue reading below... 


Things to know:

First, let’s start with a quick overview of the key terms you’ll hear.

Credit/Debit Card Fraud: A form of identity theft that involves someone using your credit or debit card as a form of payment without your knowledge, for items you know nothing about. Generally, credit or debit card information is compromised due to a data breach from a company you have done business with in the past. Oftentimes, the transactions appear to happen across the country and can range from small purchases such as fast food or gas to larger purchases at a big retailer, though there are other transactions that can happen as well.

Disputing a Transaction: Members have the ability to dispute transactions that appear on a credit card or account statement. These transactions are legitimate transactions that did not end up meeting the level of service that was anticipated, goods weren’t provided, or weren’t charged appropriately. Disputes are not intended to serve as a complaint, but rather serve as a safeguard against deceitful, dishonest, or otherwise inaccurate behavior from a merchant. Here are some examples of when to dispute a credit or debit card transaction:

  • You paid for a good or service that was not received.
  • You returned a product but did not receive a credit to your account.
  • A transaction on your account was posted for a different amount than expected.
  • A legitimate transaction is posted to your account more than one time.

To report fraud or submit a dispute, members must speak to a CSE representative in person at any office or over the phone. The reported claim will then be sent to our Card Services team for processing.

It’s important to know that you must submit your claim within 60 days of the statement date in which the transaction/charge first appeared for debit and/or credit cards.


How to submit a fraudulent transaction or dispute claim to CSE:

Step 1

Report your claim within the 60-day eligible window to a CSE representative in person or over the phone.

If you need to dispute multiple transactions, the member should mention this when reporting the claim to their CSE representative. If mentioned to the CSE representative, it will be filed as one claim to cover all transactions in question.

Note: We can only submit claims that have been posted to your account. If the transactions still show as ‘pending’, we must wait until those have been posted and cleared the account in order to submit the claim. We can submit claims for transactions that have been posted in the interim.


Step 2

The claim is then sent to our Card Services team. Once the claim is received by Card Services, it is reviewed and then submitted to our third-party claim's processor accordingly.

Note: CSE may reach out to you for additional details about the claim if there is insufficient or missing information, or to confirm information before submitting it to the third-party processor.


Step 3

A provisional credit will be issued to your account or credit card.

What is a Provisional Credit? A provisional credit is a temporary credit that is used to make the cardholder whole, pending the decision of the claim by the third-party processor.

For fraud claims, CSE will grant a provisional credit to a member’s account within 10 days from the date the claim was submitted.

Alternatively, for dispute claims, the provisional credit is typically issued when the claim is submitted to our third-party processor. Unfortunately, there is no timeframe for that credit to be issued.


Step 4

During the process, you may receive communications via the USPS (United States Postal Service) from the third-party processor requesting supporting documentation.

Note: You must respond to this communication within the specified timeframe or else the case may be closed, which may result in the temporary provisional credit being removed from your account and the claim will be dismissed.


Step 5

After a claim has been investigated, our third-party claim processor makes a determination based on the facts of the case. To make it simple, there are really only two outcomes from a cardholder’s perspective.

  1. The claim is found in favor of the member, the provisional credit that has been issued becomes permanent and the claim will be closed and completed.
  2. The claim is found in favor of the merchant, and the provisional credit would be removed from the account to which it was credited.

Note: It’s important to know that if the merchant issues a refund or credit during the investigation, the claim will be closed and the provisional credit from CSE will be removed.


While this overview provides some reasonable expectations for members, it’s important to know that all claims slightly differ and may not completely follow all of these steps. Our hope is that sharing these details helps makes the process easier if you ever have to submit a claim of fraud or have to dispute a transaction yourself.

To best protect your personal information, including debit and credit card information, take a look through our other blogs, including the Best Practices to Enhance Your Debit and Credit Card Security. 

Enhance Your Debit & Credit Card Security Blog



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