Can I get EMI on Visa cards

Credit card fraud

What should I do if my credit card is misused?

Josefine Lietzau
Expert for banking and credit as of February 04, 2020

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

  • If your card is stolen or the data is misused, you are liable up to a maximum of 50 euros. That is stipulated by law.

  • But be careful: Anyone who acts negligently or even fraudulently has to pay for any damage themselves.

  • Follow a few simple rules to protect yourself from theft and data abuse.

  • Lost your card? Was it stolen? Or do you discover unknown bookings on your bank statement? Then block your card as soon as possible!
  • Block your card either directly at your bank or via the free telephone number 116 116.
  • If your card has been stolen, you must also report the theft to the police.
  • You can retrieve unknown debits using the complaint form. But only for a limited period of time.


Your credit card details are worth a lot. Therefore, take good care of your card and the card details. Nobody can guarantee you 100% protection against misuse of your credit card. But there are some simple ruleswith which you make life difficult for criminals.

How do criminals get hold of the card data?

A popular source for data thieves is spying on credit card details when making purchases on the Internet. Often times, criminals try to get over infected attachments in emails Install malware on consumers' computers that can log all input. Another commonly used method is redirecting to specially crafted websites, where users are prompted to enter their data.

Even if consumers lose their credit card, there is a risk of abuse. With the credit card number on the front and the check digit on the back of the card, thieves can shop online immediately. Many shops can also pay with a signature, which makes credit card fraud easier than confirming by entering a PIN.

It also happens again and again successful hacker attacks on banks and online shops. The American bank Capital One was caught in mid-2019, where a hacker stole the card data of around one hundred million customers. At the beginning of 2016, tens of thousands of map data leaked into the hands of third parties in Germany.

And even the criminals are not safe: In October 2019, the online black market Briansclub was successfully hacked, so the stolen data was stolen for the second time. First of all, it had a happy ending for consumers. The data was leaked to a journalist, who then passed it on to the banks, who were then able to withdraw the affected cards from circulation.

But you shouldn't expect such a happy ending. You have to make sure that your credit card details are safe yourself.

Our tip: Always stay up to date - with our free newsletter!

Our tip: stay on the topic [category] always up to date - with our free newsletter!

How can you best protect yourself from abuse?

You can never completely rule out misuse of your data. Our tips will help you to keep the risk as low as possible.

Use data sparingly

The more companies you entrust your credit card details to, the more the risk of card misuse increases. This does not mean that the companies act with fraudulent intent, but that the risk of being affected by a hacker attack, for example, increases if you have stored your confidential data with many companies.

In addition, the technical security measures in the online shops are different. So think carefully about which online shops you want to entrust your data to. This also applies to smartphone apps that can access your card data.

Never keep the card together with the PIN

Under no circumstances should you keep your PIN together with the associated card. In the event of abuse, you will then gross negligence and you are fully liable for the damage incurred.

Check credit card statement carefully

Double-check your credit card statements. For example, it can happen that fraudsters make a so-called test debit. Often only 1 or 2 cents will be debited from your account. If this goes unnoticed by your bank, the fraudsters will try to clear as much money as possible from your account in the same way. Or the criminals try to withdraw as much money as possible from your card or they use them for online shopping. Contact your bank immediately if there are any irregularities and if necessary, have the card blocked. You should continue to check the invoices even after they have been blocked.

Be especially careful when shopping online

Many credit card fraudsters are now focusing on the Internet. Always carefully check the Address in your web browserwhen you are asked to enter your details. Signs that you have been redirected to a fraudulent page unnoticed are a missing "https: //" in the address line or that the provider of the original website is no longer in the address line. If you have the slightest doubt about the authenticity of the website, it is better to refrain from buying it.

To make your purchases on the Internet safer, the major credit card providers Visa and Mastercard have set up the 3D secure process. With "Verified by Visa" and "Mastercard Secure Code" you identify yourself twice for many purchases, for example with your credit card details and a TAN. From December 2020, such a double coverage will be mandatory.

What can you do with credit card fraud?

If, despite these precautionary measures, you become a victim of credit card fraud, stay calm and proceed like this.

Lock map

We recommend that lock credit card as soon as you have the slightest suspicion of fraud. The best way to do this is to use the free number 116 116 of the emergency call. Depending on your credit card, the emergency blocking call will immediately forward you to the responsible office.

If you call from abroad, you pay the costs of the foreign network operator. You have to use the area code for Germany, usually 0049, in some countries such as Chile or Finland the area code is different.

However, your bank must participate in this service so that you can block your credit card in this way. She doesn't do that contact your bank directly instead of the emergency call. If you have an American Express credit card, call the credit card company (0049 69 9797 2000), as American Express, unlike Mastercard and Visa, issues the credit cards itself. The best thing to do is to write down the appropriate number or enter it in your mobile phone. No matter where you call: you need your credit card details to block.

Ask for a Confirmation of the ad. In this way you can prove that you have fulfilled your reporting obligation. The credit card issuer is obliged to confirm the ad.

In addition to the credit card, you can also block other media via the blocking emergency call, including cell phone cards, bank cards and the electronic identity function of ID cards.

Show card theft

If you believe your credit card has been stolen, you should not only report this to your bank, but also to the police. Have this ad confirmed to you as well.
This also applies if the card was not stolen, but you still assume that someone has misused the card.

Book money back

If you discover errors on the statement, you can have the money refunded. The statutory deadline is eight weeks, but you usually have longer. This is because the credit card companies Mastercard and Visa have set longer periods in their rules for the so-called chargeback process. However, you shouldn't push them to the limit, because the rules also stipulate that you act as quickly as possible.

You can download the relevant forms from the providers' websites. Possible reasons for complaint are transactions that have been withdrawn from the account several times or that you have not made.


What are the costs in the event of fraud?

The Blocking a credit card does not cost you anything. The bank is also not allowed to ask for money for unblocking or reissuing the card. This results from the prohibition for banks to charge fees for the fulfillment of so-called secondary obligations (Section 675f (4) sentence 2 BGB).

Nevertheless, banks sometimes charge fees for a replacement card, at Postbank it was 15 euros. Wrongly, as the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled (judgment of October 20, 2015, (judgment of October 20, 2015, Az. XI ZR 166/14).

If you need a new card, you should get one free replacement exist. Some banks generally do not unblock the credit card - even if it appears again - and send you a new card straight away.

Yours maximum liability until the loss is reported is limited to 50 euros in accordance with § 675v BGB. After that you are generally not liable. Many credit card providers release their customers from statutory liability or at least reduce the liability portion if the customer has met the “contractual conditions”.

With Mastercard and Visa there is also a "Zero Liability Protection". As a result, the Customers are not liable in the event of fraud. If the bank still applies the 50 euros, the best thing to do is to point out the rules to the customers.

As a rule, the contractual terms mean that you not grossly negligent or with fraudulent intent may have acted and report the loss immediately. Gross negligence is understood to mean, for example, keeping the PIN together with the card. In this case you can be held fully liable, the 50 euro limit has been lifted. In such cases, Zero Liability Protection won't help you either.

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

Dr. Britta Beate Schön

Dr. Britta Beate Schön

Britta Beate Schön is responsible for all legal issues at Finanztip. The doctor of law and attorney was head of the legal department at financial service providers such as Telis Finanz AG and Interhyp. Before that, she taught and researched in Japan as a DAAD junior professor for German and European law. She completed her studies in Münster, Geneva, Regensburg and Leipzig. You can reach the author at [email protected]

* What the star means:

With our recommendations, we want to help as many people as possible to do their own finances. This is why our content is available online free of charge. We finance our extensive work with so-called affiliate links. We mark these links with an asterisk (*).

At Finanztip, however, we handle affiliate links differently than other websites. We only link to products that were previously recommended by our independent expert editorial team. Only then can the relevant provider set a link to this offer. We get money if you click on such a link or conclude a contract with the provider.

Whether and to what extent a provider pays us has no influence on our recommendations. What our experts recommend to you depends solely on whether an offer is good for consumers.

You can find more information about how we work on our About Us page.


+++ Pssst! Your newsletter full of savings tips +++

  • Lower your expenses for electricity, rent, cell phones, cars, travel and much more.

  • Don't miss any deadlines for filing your tax return or switching insurance.

  • Free in our Newsletter. Register now!