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How do you reverse a credit card transaction?

Do you need an incorrect credit card charge reversed? Learn how to dispute transactions with your bank.

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Mistakes on your credit card statement can happen. It may be a transaction you don’t recognize, a direct payment after you’ve cancelled it or an instance where the merchant has double charged you. Whatever the case, you should always immediately bring any inconsistencies in your statement to the bank’s attention, where you’ll be given the opportunity to dispute and reverse incorrect charges. This is especially urgent if you suspect your card has been stolen or breached, since you’d want the account instantly frozen to prevent more fraudulent transactions.

How do I lodge a dispute?

The process for lodging a dispute will vary between banks, however you can usually lodge a dispute in one (or more) of three ways:

  • Online via your banking website
  • Calling your bank
  • Visiting your bank in person

According to their websites, you can lodge a dispute with the biggest banks in Canada in the following ways:

BankHow to lodge a dispute
RBC
  • You can lodge a dispute by logging into your online banking and selecting the “Investigate This Item” link beside the questionable transaction. If you can’t find this link, navigate to the customer service tab and select “Communications”, then “Contact Us” and then click “Email”.
  • If your inquiry is urgent, call RBC at 1-800-769-2511.
  • Additionally, you can visit a branch in person and receive help.
TD
  • Call TD at 1-800-983-8472.
  • Additionally, you can visit a branch in person and receive help.
BMO
  • Call BMO at 1-800-263-2263.
  • Additionally, you can visit a branch in person and receive help.
Scotiabank
  • Call Scotiabank at 1-800-472-6842.
  • Additionally, you can visit a branch in person and receive help.
CIBC
  • Call CIBC at 1-800-465-4653.
  • Additionally, you can visit a branch in person and receive help.
Tangerine
  • Call Tangerine at 1-888-826-4374.

What transactions can I dispute?

It is your right as a consumer and account holder to dispute a variety of credit card errors that include:

  • Unauthorized transactions. Any transactions that were not made or authorized by you or an additional cardholder.
  • Fraudulent transactions. A transaction that you believe was made fraudulently.
  • Inconsistencies. Items on your statement that do not match the item amounts on your receipts.
  • Mistakes. Transactions that were mistakenly charged to your account more than once.
  • Refunds. Refunds or credits that have not been processed, or that were wrongly processed as debits.
  • Cancellations. Charges for a reservation you made but cancelled within the cancellation period.
  • Cancelled auto-payments. A cancelled automatic payment that is still being deducted.
  • Faulty or defective goods. Goods that you paid for but have not received, have been delivered but are not as they were described to be or that arrived to you faulty or defective.
  • Unfulfilled services. Services that have not been rendered.
  • ATM errors. An ATM withdrawal that dispensed the incorrect amount of money.

What should I check before I dispute a transaction?

Ensure that the charge in question is indeed an error by doing the following:

  • Check all your receipts and transaction records for the period in question, paying close attention to items from the same retailer or financial institution. Try reconciling total amounts over the period, keeping in mind that some transactions may not be processed on the same day.
  • See if you can relate the purchase to something else you bought in the same period, given that some merchants may have different billing names.
  • If you have an additional cardholder, check to make sure the purchase wasn’t theirs.
  • If it is the amount that does not match, check if an exchange rate, international transaction fee or other surcharge was applied by the merchant.
  • If the transaction was for an automatic payment or direct debit that you believe has been cancelled, contact the retailer for clarification. Some contracts specify cut-off dates for cancelling regular payments, which makes the charge legitimate if your notice of cancellation was given after that date.
If you are still unable to resolve the issue after doing all of the above, contact your bank immediately to initiate an investigation.

What happens after my dispute is lodged?

You will receive confirmation from the bank once they have received your request for a dispute resolution. At this point, it may be necessary for you to sign a form authorizing their investigation which you will need to return to the bank in a specified time frame. They will also likely ask that you send them certain documentation in order for them to properly investigate the dispute. If you fail to provide them with all necessary information, your dispute will likely be unsuccessful.

Once you have lodged your credit card dispute with your bank, it usually goes through three stages:

Dispute Item RaisedDispute Resolution CreditDispute Item Resolved
The transaction in question is being reviewed.Your account is credited with the correct amount of money.The bank is no longer reviewing the transaction.

What’s the difference between a chargeback and a disputed transaction?

There is a distinct difference between a chargeback to your account and a transaction that needs to be disputed by the bank:

  • Chargeback
    • A chargeback refers to purchases made using a debit directly from your bank account. If such an error is made, you should first try and resolve it yourself directly with the retailer. If not, your bank will dispute the claim with the retailer’s bank but only if you ask within 30 days of the transaction. Make sure that you are prepared to provide the bank with all of the information you have about the transaction and be aware that you might be charged a fee for this service.
  • Disputed transaction
    • This term is used for credit purchases where a charge appears on your statement that you believe was made in error, is in the wrong amount or is for goods that you ordered but were unable to use.

What should I be wary of?

In order to protect yourself when using a credit card, you should follow certain steps including:

  • Shopping online. When shopping online, only make purchases with established merchants that have been in business for an extended period of time. Websites can be set up from anywhere in the world, making it difficult to track down an individual who makes a charge to your account for goods, and then closes the site. In this case, you may have to pursue a chargeback instead of reversing the credit card transaction.
  • Print your online receipts. When completing a check-out online, make sure that you print or email yourself a copy of the receipt. This will help you to lodge a dispute if the goods are never received.
  • Save credit card receipts. When using your credit card in a store, you should always check the receipt before signing it. Also, save all receipts until the next billing cycle to ensure that it’s accurate.
  • Sign your credit card. If a merchant has a signed receipt from your account, it will have to match the signature shown on the back of your credit card.
  • Contact the bank ASAP. Do not wait if you notice a charge on your credit card that should not be there. The bank is only an intermediary between you and the credit card companies, which all have different criteria and time frames that have to be met for resolving disputes.

Compare credit cards that can help to protect you

While it varies between credit cards, purchase protection usually offers insurance for up to 90 days when products bought with your card are lost, stolen or accidentally damaged.

Name Product Purchase Protection Cover Maximum Limit per Claim Annual Fee Reward
American Express Cobalt Card
90 days
$1,000
$120
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, bars, cafés and food delivery services, 2 points per $1 spent at eligible gas stations, and on transit and travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 45,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, earn 2,500 points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 on your card (for a total of 30,000 points in a year). Plus, earn 15,000 points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months. Apply by May 5, 2021.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
90 days
The lesser of the repair cost or the purchase price of the insured item
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Get 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases (up to $50,000 spend annually), and 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Get up to $575 in value in your first year. Get a bonus of 40,000 BMO Rewards points ($285 travel value booked on bmorewards.com). Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
90 days
The lesser of the repair cost or the purchase price of the insured item
$0
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
90 days
$1,000
$99
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership.
American Express Aeroplan Card
90 days
The lesser of the repair cost or the purchase price of the insured item
$120
Earn 2x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada vacations, 1.5x the points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases and 1x the points on everything else.
Earn up to 15,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass as a new cardmember.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
90 days
The lesser of the repair cost or the purchase price of the insured item
$20
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
The lesser of the repair cost or the purchase price of the insured item
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit.
Get up to 40,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. Earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and get 15,000 points on your first anniversary.
Choice Card from American Express
The lesser of the repair cost or the purchase price of the insured item
$0
Earn 1 American Express Membership Point for every $1 you spend on purchases.
Earn 12,500 Bonus Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,250 in purchases to your card within the first 3 months as a new Cardmember. Apply by May 5, 2021.
American Express Business Edge Card
90 days
$1,000
$99
Earn 3 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies, electronics, rides, gas, eats and drinks (up to an annual earn of 75,000 Membership Rewards), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
Earn up to 42,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
90 days
$1,000
$120
Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $5 spent on eligible food, drink, gas and transit purchases (up to an annual spend of $30,000), and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on all other eligible purchases (and after the $30,000 annual spend)
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 3,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,500 in eligible purchases within the first three months.
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Fraud protection guards against unauthorized purchases on your account. By law, you can be responsible for no more than $50 if your credit card is stolen and used without your consent – however, you often won’t be liable for any fraud activity thanks to the security features and policies adopted by most major credit card issuers.
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
American Express Cobalt Card
19.99%
21.99%
$120
N/A
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, bars, cafés and food delivery services, 2 points per $1 spent at eligible gas stations, and on transit and travel purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 45,000 bonus Membership Rewards points. In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, earn 2,500 points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 on your card (for a total of 30,000 points in a year). Plus, earn 15,000 points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months. Apply by May 5, 2021.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases (up to $50,000 spend annually), and 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Get up to $575 in value in your first year. Get a bonus of 40,000 BMO Rewards points ($285 travel value booked on bmorewards.com). Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
American Express Aeroplan Card
30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full each month
N/A
$120
N/A
Earn 2x the points on eligible purchases made directly with Air Canada and Air Canada vacations, 1.5x the points on eligible dining and food delivery purchases and 1x the points on everything else.
Earn up to 15,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan points and a bonus Buddy Pass as a new cardmember.
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
19.99%
21.99%
$99
N/A
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
20.99%
23.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$60,000
Earn 5x the BMO Points for every $1 spent on groceries, dining in and out, gas and transit.
Get up to 40,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year. Earn 25,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and get 15,000 points on your first anniversary.
Choice Card from American Express
19.99%
23.99%
$0
N/A
Earn 1 American Express Membership Point for every $1 you spend on purchases.
Earn 12,500 Bonus Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,250 in purchases to your card within the first 3 months as a new Cardmember. Apply by May 5, 2021.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
12.99%
$20
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
American Express Business Edge Card
19.99%
21.99%
$99
N/A
Earn 3 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible business essentials including office supplies, electronics, rides, gas, eats and drinks (up to an annual earn of 75,000 Membership Rewards), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
Earn up to 42,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, and earn 1,000 Membership Rewards points each month (a total of 12,000 annually) when you spend a minimum of $3,000 on eligible purchases
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
20.99%
21.99%
$120
N/A
Earn 1 AIR MILE for every $5 spent on eligible food, drink, gas and transit purchases (up to an annual spend of $30,000), and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on all other eligible purchases (and after the $30,000 annual spend)
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 3,000 AIR MILES when you spend at least $1,500 in eligible purchases within the first three months.
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