I've been reading that ATM skimming is a fast-growing and lucrative crime and consumers should be very careful. Normally I think the customer is limited to $50 liability if they report in 2 days, and $500 if they report within 60 days.

However, Bank of America has this "$0 Liability Guarantee" aka "Total Security Protection" thing within 60 days:

http://learn.bankofamerica.com/products/managing-credit/0-liability-guarantee.html http://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/checksave/index.cfm?template=checkcards_tsp

The first link seems to cover any fraudulent use of your cards, but I guess they could say the physical card wasn't fradulently used. The second link only says if the card is "lost or stolen", but I always had the impression it included fraudulent transactions online, in which case the physical card itself was neither lost nor stolen.

Opinions? What do you guys think? Have you read about or do you know about any actual instances and who was held liable, BoA or not?

I rarely check my statements during my Ph.D. work, but then I have little enough money that any significant loss would be apparent pretty quickly.

2 Answers 2


I think you are not liable for unauthorized charges (on your card) no matter how the number was lost. Most banks now apply a $0 liability for card losses. Some say they use the $50 per day (legal) liability limit but I have never heard of any actually applying it to their customers.

  • Interesting. That's very reassuring to know. Nonetheless, I shall be on my guard when using ATM's. I read highly-busy ones are the most likely to be targeted, which is counter-intuitive to me since they'd be hard to set up.
    – Paul
    Oct 20, 2010 at 15:57
  • Sorry for my slow response; that darned Ph.D. dissertation is sucking up all my time. Also, I assume this means you have knowledge of many scamming cases?
    – Paul
    Oct 20, 2010 at 15:58
  • Just personal experience. My credit card number was stolen twice. once after a vacation to Dominican republic.
    – Vitalik
    Oct 20, 2010 at 16:22
  • Insist on "chip cards" and chip ATMs, they are far, far more difficult to skim. I don't even use ATM cards anymore, I just go into the bank when I need cash. Reason is: I don't like how if someone grabs my wallet, they can use my ATM card like a Visa/MC and I lose the money immediately and must fight like heck to get it back. With actual credit cards that's not a worry. (Yes I know there are stupid people who can't handle credit cards, that's a different problem.) Jul 30, 2016 at 23:03

Generally speaking, most banks do like having you as a customer, and will refund "provably" fraudulent charges without regard as to the actual how it happened. The problem with ATM skimming is that while they are investigating, you don't have the money, vs credit card numbers being stolen, you don't have to pay that charge. So, even if it is actually fraudulent, you're still out the money until the investigation completes.

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