Online banking protection

You won’t lose if you hit the wrong key

MARIA BEKIARIS

JIM TSINGANOS

Have you ever typed in the wrong BSB or account number when banking online? It’s happened to the best of us. The good news is that if you do it again your “fat fingers” probably won’t cost you that money. Under the new ePayments Code, which came into force on March 20, there are certain procedures in place for “misdirected” payments, making it more likely you’ll have the money returned to your account.

Note that the “recipient” institution will have to help you get your money back. The steps it will take include making sure it preserves sufficient funds, if funds exist, in the unintended recipient’s account while the misdirected payment is being investigated, explains the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA).

Once this has been resolved, banks and other authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) will facilitate the return of the funds, after getting the unintended recipient to consent. If there’s not enough money in the account, banks and other ADIs will use reasonable endeavours to retrieve the funds by instalments from the unintended recipient, adds the ABA.

“Of course, it is still very important for customers to take care when transacting online and using the ‘pay anyone’ tool,” says ABA chief executive Steven Munchenberg. “Bank websites will often have messages which alert customers to the need of inserting correctly the BSB and account number. Remember to do a final check before proceeding with the transaction.”

Administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the code regulates consumer electronic payments including ATM, EFTPOS, credit card transactions, online payments, internet banking, mobile banking and BPAY.

It protects consumers in a number of other ways, too. ASIC gives the example of when someone loses a mobile phone and whoever finds the phone uses the mobile application to make purchases or transactions without authorisation. If that happens, you won’t be liable for the transactions.

The code is voluntary but a large number of institutions have signed up, including the big banks, many credit unions and building societies, and PayPal. You can find the full list at www.asic.gov.au or simply ask your financial institution if it is a member.

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