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Your Credit Billing and Electronic Fund Transfer Statements
It is important to check credit billing and electronic fund transfer account statements regularly because these documents may contain mistakes that could damage your credit status or reflect improper charges or transfers. If you find an error or discrepancy, notify the company and dispute the error immediately. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) establish procedures for resolving mistakes on credit billing and electronic fund transfer account statements, including: • charges or electronic fund transfers that you – or anyone you have authorized to use your account – have not made; • charges or electronic fund transfers that are incorrectly identified or show the wrong date or amount; • math errors; • failure to post payments, credits, or electronic fund transfers properly; • failure to send bills to your current address – provided the creditor receives your change of address, in writing, at least 20 days before the billing period ends; • charges or electronic fund transfers for which you ask for an explanation or written proof of purchase along with a claimed error or request for clarification. The FCBA generally applies only to “open end” credit accounts – credit cards and revolving charge accounts, like department store accounts. It does not apply to loans or credit sales that are paid according to a fixed schedule until the entire amount is paid back, like an automobile loan. The EFTA applies to electronic fund transfers, like those involving automatic teller machines (ATMs), point-of-sale debit transactions, and other electronic banking transactions.
Knowing your rights is the first step in keeping track of your electronic transactions and thwarting identity thieves. Checking your records for charges or transfers that you didn’t make will ensure that your credit record is correct and erroneous charges aren’t made. You are the first line of defense against the bad guys who are trying to access your electronic accounts. Use common sense when making an electronic transaction and ensure that the transaction is secure. Checking your account online daily will allow you to see any unusual purchases or transfers and report them in a timely fashion instead of waiting for your monthly paper bill to arrive.
You are the first line of defense and can help protect your good credit with very little effort. It only takes a minute or two per day to log in to your account and make sure that everything is OK. Take the time and enjoy the peace of mind.
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