If you have unauthorized use on a Total Visa card, you may be in luck. The most you’ll be responsible for is $50, but it’s more likely to be $0.

Total Visa Card Disclosures

The fine print in the Total Visa card disclosures says, “…You will not be liable for unauthorized use of your Card or Account… Certain exceptions apply, and you may be liable for up to $50.00.”

The disclosures go on to discuss the situation when you should call and how to reach them the fastest, which is the toll-free number. The exceptions depend on how quickly you report the card lost or stolen. If you contact the company before the unauthorized use, you won’t be held liable for any purchases made after that. For example, if you lost the card and call before the unauthorized use, you won’t be held responsible. If you contact the company within two days, you may be responsible for up to $50.

FTC Rules

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that if you exceed those time limits, you may be liable up to $500 or more based on how long it takes for you to report the unauthorized charges or missing Card. If it’s been over 60 days, you might be liable for all of the costs. Although, most of this won’t apply to the Total Visa Card because the limit is $300, and the disclosures clearly say up to $50. You can also check your renters’ or homeowner’s insurance policy for stolen card coverage.

Tips to Avoid Paying a Fee

To avoid owing $50 or more with any of your cards, here are some tips. First, always review your statements for any unusual charges. Also, it is a good habit to keep your receipts until the fees have shown on your statement, and you can compare the final costs. Next, once you have found an inconsistency, immediately contact the bank or credit card company. Make a note of when you called to report the discrepancy. The FTC suggests that you follow-up with a written letter or email and track all correspondence. Ask for a delivery receipt if you mail in your letter.

Next, I’d encourage you to look at your previous monthly statements for any other unusual charges, especially small ones. I recently heard of a woman that had several months’ worth of transactions that she missed because they were so little. Her credit card company dismissed them, but that is not always the case.

Avoid Fraudulent Charges

The best thing to do is to avoid potential fraud before it happens. Protect your cards and PINs. Don’t carry every card with you if you don’t need them. Don’t write your PIN down anywhere. Don’t share your card information or PIN. Avoid giving your card numbers over the phone, especially in public areas. Also, don’t give your card information during incoming calls; it might be a scam call. Mark through any blank spots on your receipts so they can’t be filled in later.

If you are using your account wisely and protecting your information, you will reduce your liability. Report any activity as quickly as possible to minimize your payout.

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