Financial Literacy for Everyone
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Know Your Rights

Credit Card Protection

  • Prompt Credit for Payment  A card issuer must credit your account on the day the issuer receives your payment, unless the payment is not made according to the creditor's requirements.
  • Refunds of Credit Balances  When you return merchandise or pay more than you owe, you have the option of keeping the credit balance on your account or receiving a refund.
  • Unauthorized Charges Most credit card companies have programs like the Visa Zero Liability policy, where cardholders are protected from unauthorized transactions made on their cards, provided that they can establish, to the satisfaction of their bank, that they didn't make the purchase

Consumer Rights

According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, a federally regulated financial institution is obligated to follow certain protocol and acknowledge certain civil rights in their granting of a loan or credit to you.

For instance:

  • Financial institutions are required to provide you with information about the costs of borrowing and any charges or penalties that may apply, at or before the time a loan or a credit or charge card is issued.
  • Financial institutions must express the cost of borrowing as a rate per year and, in prescribed circumstances, as an amount in dollars and cents.
  • You are entitled to prepay a loan before it comes due without penalty, unless the loan is secured by a mortgage on real property.
  • You are not required to maintain a minimum credit balance, unless you agree to do so.

Below are some of the rights that you, as a consumer, have:

  • Consumer Protection Act Ensures consumers are fully aware of their rights.

  • Human Rights Legislation Prohibits discrimination in giving credit on the basis of sex, race, colour, religion, national origin, marital status, age or receipt of public assistance.

  • Credit Reporting Act Sets up a procedure for the quick correction of mistakes that appear on consumer credit accounts.

  • Collection Agencies Act Prevents abuse by professional debts collectors, and applies to anyone employed to collect debts owed to others; does not apply to banks and other businesses collecting their own accounts.

  • Sale Of Goods ActContract of sale between buyer and seller. Encompasses type of contract, enforcement provisions, duties and remedies.

  • Fair Trading Act Applies to consumer transactions and unfair practices that occurred after September 1999.

How You Can Protect Yourself

1. Keep records, such as:

  • Credit card number
  • Phone number to call if your card is lost or stolen
  • Receipts for purchases and returns
  • Receipts for merchandise ordered that has not yet arrived but appear on your bill
  • Record of telephone orders and confirmation numbers

2. Protect Yourself Against Fraud

  • Always keep your card with you or store in a safe place.
  • When using card, watch the person who is running charges (to be sure duplicate is not made).
  • Never give card number over the phone or e-mail if you did not initiate contact.
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately. To report a lost or stolen VISA card, call 1-800-847-2911
  • Carefully read the bills before paying. Compare amount on receipts to amounts on bill. Don't always assume the bill is correct.
  • Keep receipts, and shred when not needed.