Do you get Section 75 protection on your debit card?

No, you are only protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act when you make a purchase costing 100 to 30,000 on your credit card.

Debit card purchases are not covered by Section 75 because they are not part of a credit agreement. But they do protect your purchases through the Chargeback scheme.

How are debit card purchases protected?

Chargeback lets you claim a refund for goods that have not arrived or arrived damaged, goods that are different to how they were described, or if the merchant stops trading.

You get protection through the Chargeback scheme for purchases made using all UK debit cards, including:

  • Visa and Visa Electron cards

  • MasterCard debit cards

  • Maestro debit cards

  • Prepaid cards

There is a similar purchase protection scheme in place for Amex charge cards.

What are the limits?

You can claim a refund for any amount of money when using the Chargeback system, and you can use it for your credit card as well as your debit card.

This means that even if you bought something on your credit card that is not covered by Section 75 as it cost either over 30,000 or under 100 in value, you could claim instead using Chargeback.

Although these items could not be claimed under Section 75 you could try to claim for them under the Chargeback system.

Does it provide legal protection?

No, protection offered through Chargeback is not a legal obligation (like Section 75 for credit cards) but an in-house rule.

This means that the exact rules for Chargeback schemes vary by card provider, so you should make sure you are aware of your debit card's Chargeback rules.

How to claim through Chargeback

If you want to make a claim, you will normally have to contact the bank who provided you with the card within 120 days of when you are aware that there is an issue with the goods, or the day that they are delivered. If the goods are faulty or your card was used fraudulently, contact your bank within 120 days of when you are first made aware of this.

Ask them to initiate the Chargeback process and a dispute will be opened by your bank, who will investigate the matter and refund your money when this is settled.

If your Chargeback claim fails, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of being notified.

PayPal's purchase protection scheme

Unfortunately, you are unlikely to be protected under debit card Chargeback schemes for items purchased using PayPal. In these cases the act of loading money onto your PayPal account counts as the debit card transaction, so unless the money fails to be credited it will not be covered.

PayPal runs its own purchase protection scheme which extends some cover to your purchases, but again it is in-house rather than regulated by law. You can read about the scheme on the PayPal website.

It is worth noting however that while credit card providers are under a legal obligation to refund you because of the Consumer Credit Act, debit card providers are not legally required to honour your refund request. Therefore, a little more persistence may be needed when claiming a refund for your debit card transaction.

In all cases of purchases made using a credit or debit card which are unsatisfactory, it is always a good idea to take up the matter with the retailer or service provider first before claiming for a refund from your card provider - they may be able to settle the dispute themselves, saving you potential hassle.