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This is specifically about credit cards issued within the UK.

A little over 2 years ago, my father died, at the time of his death, my parents had joint credit cards (or, credit cards linked to a joint account).

Fast forward a couple of years, and I find out that a company has been charging my fathers credit card for the past two years, through the joint account.

As far as I can remember, the numbers on the credit cards are the same, as are the expiry dates (though I'm not sure about the CVV number on the back). Obviously, the names on the cards are different.

I know that the bank who issues the credit card was notified about the death as other accounts (both individual and joint) were held with this bank.

Now, in my mind, and I am very aware this is quite a personal thing so I may be thinking more emotionally than logically, this amounts to credit card fraud as the credit card being used belonged to someone deceased, is this the case, or is the fact that it is a joint account trump this?

  • What was the company charging for? For example, if a couple has a utility bill or something else they regularly use as a recurring charge on the card, and one half of the couple dies, the other might continue using the utility and should rightly be paying for it; continuing to make those payments from a joint account without switching things over immediately after a loss could be a convenience rather than an issue. If it's something like a life insurance policy, on the other hand... – WBT Mar 11 '18 at 17:52
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I can't speak for the UK banks specifically, but in the US, oftentimes the name field is not a required field for verification purposes. So, it's possible that the charge did not even include the name at the time of processing, and since the other numbers are the same, the bank wouldn't know who the charge was for. This is one of the downsides of having multiple names sharing a single CC number, as the bills might not be itemized by person.

As for whether this is fraud, if the provided service was on autopay and they were never notified that they should no longer continue to make charges, I don't think it would be fair to call that fraud. Likewise, if the credit card account was still active (and it sounds like it was since your mother still had a card), then I don't think you can blame your CC bank either.

All is not lost though. The first thing I would recommend is to contact the company that provided the service, explain the situation, and request that they give you a refund for all charges after your father's death. Depending on what the service is and how nice the company decides to be, they may refund the charges without much hassle (though you may be asked to provide a death certificate or some other proof of the date). If they choose not to reimburse you, and you still feel you've been wronged, then you can file a dispute with your CC bank. Note that there may be a statute of limitations on how far back you can go. In the US charges within the last 3-6 months are normally pretty easy to contest (with proof), beyond that can be trickier, but not impossible.

Good luck.

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(The following is based on my understanding, from my own experience of what my bank has told me. I assume it's true, but I haven't bothered to research it.)

In the UK, there is no such thing as a "joint credit card". A credit card account must have a single account holder. The account holder can request cards for additional card holders, and the account holder may pay off the credit card with a monthly direct debit from a joint account - I suspect this is what has actually happened in the case you describe.

You say "a company has been charging my fathers credit card for the past two years, through the joint account" - I suspect that what you mean is that an automatic payment on the card was authorised by your father, and this has been paid by monthly direct debit from the joint account? If the company was given authority, and this authority was never revoked, then how could it be credit card fraud? How would the company know that your father had died unless someone told them?

If you're blaming the bank rather than the company that's been taking money: who is the credit card account holder? If it is your mother (your father just being an additional card holder), then there was no reason for the bank to cancel the card.

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