Credit card blocking and liability – card holder is liable for damage that occurs

Flat-rate limitation of liability up to the blocking announcement

Flat-rate limitation of liability up to the blocking announcement

If the credit card is lost to the owner, it is stolen or is lost in some other way and the card is subsequently unauthorized, the card holder is liable for damage that occurs up to the time of the blocking notification, according to the vast majority of the special terms and conditions only for a lump sum of

  • 50 USD

If, based on the introductory example, the credit card is stolen from the owner and the thief has an amount of 500 USD paid out at the ATM, the owner will be involved in this damage with a lump sum of 50 USD. The cardholder is entitled to a reimbursement claim against his bank for the remaining 450 USD. The bank is obliged to reimburse this amount to its customer immediately and in full. If the billing account is already debited with the unauthorized disposal, the bank must ensure that the account is appropriately balanced.

The general limitation of liability to a flat-rate deductible applies regardless of whether the credit card holder is at fault for the loss or theft of the card.

No limitation of liability in the event of a breach of duty

No limitation of liability in the event of a breach of duty

However, a completely different assessment can be required if the beneficiary violates his duties. On the one hand, this applies to the immediate notification obligation after loss or theft of the credit card. The bank also assumes no economic damage if the customer violates the duties of care agreed in the special terms and conditions. A contractual clause that regulates these duties of care is regularly found in terms and conditions. The following clause is an example of such agreements:

“The credit card must be kept with special care to prevent it from being lost and misused. In particular, the credit card must not be left unattended in the vehicle. “

The wording “in particular” indicates that only one case of a breach of due diligence is specifically named. In addition to unsupervised storage of the card in the car, other circumstances and circumstances are conceivable, in the presence of which a breach of care can be assumed.

Individual disclaimers in terms and conditions

Individual disclaimers in terms and conditions

If the cardholder is responsible for such a breach of conduct or due diligence, the bank assumes no liability for economic damage that has occurred until the blocking notification. A prerequisite for the exemption from liability of the bank is, however, that the violation of the obligations as

  • deliberately or
  • grossly negligent

is classified.

Various terms and conditions list the relevant exemption clauses in detail based on typical case examples, when a grossly negligent breach of duty is to be assumed. Gross negligence on the part of the cardholder, which means that the cardholder is fully responsible for the damage, may then arise if

  • he has not immediately reported the loss or theft of the card to the bank or to the central blocking acceptance service (breach of conduct)
  • he has noted the personal PIN on the card or kept it together with the card (breach of duty of care)

In addition, the bank has no obligation to pay, even if the cardholder acts fraudulently.

In all of these cases, the cardholder has no right to reimbursement against his bank, because he himself was guilty of culpable cause of the economic damage or made it possible. In order to maintain the discount of the basic liability on the deductible of more than 50 USD, every credit card holder can therefore only be strongly advised to adhere to really reliable precautionary measures and protective measures. If it turns out after a card loss that the credit card was not thief-proof and well-kept, the financial risk of damage (at least until the blocking notification) is on the cardholder’s part alone.

Liability of the cardholder after the block

Liability of the cardholder after the block

All unauthorized dispositions that are issued after the cardholder has indicated that the card is blocked are the responsibility of the bank. For this purpose, the special terms and conditions of the banks contain the following agreement as an example:

“As soon as the loss or theft of the credit card is notified to the bank or the central blocking acceptance service, the bank assumes all the damage that will result from the card disposition.”