Disputing debit card transactions

What you need to know when disputing a transaction on your debit card

Posted April 2024

Woman looking upset while on the phone

If there is a transaction on your card that doesn't look right, or one you don’t recognise when you check your statement, Internet or Mobile Banking app, you can usually dispute it with the merchant (seller)Or, with us; your credit union. 

Should you ever need to dispute a transaction on your card, here’s what you need to know to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible: 

Can I dispute a transaction made on my debit card? 

This depends on the reason.  

  • If you are not happy with a purchase you’ve made or something has gone wrong with the transaction (such as being charged twice), the first step is to contact the merchant (the organisation where your card was used) directly and ask them to resolve the issue. 

  • If you don’t recognise the transaction at all, or believe your card details may have been compromised, contact us immediately.  We’ll then cancel the card to ensure further fraudulent attempts are not made. 

It’s important - for all disputes - that you contact the merchant before talking to us. Except for instances where you believe your card details have been compromised. 

How do I dispute a transaction on my debit card? 

Transactions can only be disputed with us under certain circumstances.  

Below are the steps to take when disputing a transaction: 

  1. Look into the transaction.Do a little research to determine whether it's legitimate. Sometimes a merchant might bill under a different name, e.g. your New Zealand Herald subscription might show on your statement as NZME. Other times, merchants might use a billing company like PayPal, so this will show on your statement rather than the merchant's name. You can use Google to help figure out who processed the transaction. 

  1. Contact the merchant.In most cases (if there was an error) the merchant will reverse the transaction. Explain everything that has happened and be prepared to show proof of your purchase and other supporting documents. 

  1. Lodge a dispute with us. If you've completed steps one and/or two and the issue still hasn't been resolved, it's now time to lodge the dispute. You can contact us here. We will need as much information from you as possible, and we may request proof that you have attempted to contact the merchant. 

It is important to note that you must dispute a debit card transaction in writing within 60 days, or we will not be able to assist you. 

We'll file the dispute with the merchant and its bank and then advise you of the outcome. If we need to raise a chargeback with the merchant, this can take up to 120 days to process 

Common questions: 

If my debit card is stolen and transactions are made, can I dispute these? 

Yes, you can. Please contact us immediately to cancel the card.  Call our Contact Centre on 0800 229 943. Or, when overseas call + 64 6 826 2924 (collect). 

I bought a pair of shoes (or other item) online and they never turned up Can I dispute the transaction? 

Yes, you can. You will, however, need to contact the merchant first and request they resolve it. 

I went out for dinner last week and the restaurant charged me for my meal twice Can I dispute the transaction? 

Yes, you can. Talk to the restaurant first and request they resolve the issue. 

I paid my internet bill yesterday and my provider also charged me a $1 transaction. It’s currently pendingCan you reverse it? 

This is likely to be an authorisation charge that the provider places while your payment goes through. It will remain pending for up to four days and then drop off, so you will not be charged the $1. If you have any questions, contact the merchant. 

I bought something online that I no longer want The transaction is still pending.  Can you reverse it? 

We can't dispute a transaction on the basis that you've changed your mind. We also can't dispute a transaction until it's billed to your account and is no longer pending. You’ll need to contact the merchant to see if they can cancel your order and refund you. 

An unknown merchant has made a debit on my cardIs this cause for concern? 

Do some research online. If you are unable find out who the merchant is, contact us immediately. 

I was charged for a subscription I did not ask forCan you reverse this? 

If you made an online purchase and then see the merchant’s name on your card account again unexpectedly, check the emails you received from them and check their website. You may find that you signed up for a subscription without realising it. 

Or have you signed up for a free trial? Check the terms and conditions. Unless you cancelled it before the trial ends, companies may continue to charge your account.  

In both cases you must first attempt to contact the merchant to reverse the transaction and cancel any subscription in place. 

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The article published on this page is not financial advice and should not be relied upon as such. The opinions published in this article is not those of Unity Credit Union.