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How to resolve a credit card dispute with your bank

Try to stay cool and collected through the process.

Updated

Fact checked

Credit card disputes are a normal part of managing your finances and you can perform them even when you’ve willingly made the credit card purchase. However, it’s not always obvious where to start when you’ve run into a problem. Here’s how to get started with your dispute and how to best navigate the process.

Steps to resolve a dispute with your bank

Here are four simple tips you can use to resolve a problem with the bank that’s issued your credit card.

  1. Get in touch with your bank

  2. Ask staff members or the manager of the credit department at your local branch to review your problem. You can contact the head office if this situation has not been resolved at the branch. You will probably be asked which branch representatives served you so make sure to take down names.

    For most types of disputes, including those classified as “billing errors” by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you’ll need to file your dispute within 60 days from when the charge appearance on your bank statement.

  3. State your problem clearly

  4. Communicate exactly what the problem is so they can fully understand the issue and resolve it effectively. Stay calm, state the facts and let them know how you would like this resolved.

  5. Do not stop making payments

  6. You should always make at least the minimum payment to your credit card when you are in dispute with the company. Otherwise, you may have to pay penalty fees and interest will continue to add onto your balance.

  7. Wait for results

According to the FTC, creditors are required to respond to complaints considered “billing errors” within 30 days and resolve the issue within two billing cycles. Other types of disputes may take longer to resolve and can depend on your state laws as well as the policies of your creditor.

What to do when all else fails

When you have not received any results from the head office, you can contact The Federal Reserve and make a complaint via their consumer complaint form. Go to the website at https://www.federalreserve.gov and fill out a dispute form by clicking contact and then consumer assistance.

While it can be a somewhat lengthy process to resolve a dispute with your credit card issuer, you should be able to get closure on the matter by using these two methods. A lot of people get into trouble by losing their temper. Don’t let this happen to you — stay calm and the issue will get resolved.

When should you dispute a credit card charge?

Generally, the following circumstances listed under the Fair Credit Billing Act are considered “billing errors” indicate an opportunity for a successful dispute:

  • Charges list the wrong date or monetary amount
  • Charges on items you didn’t accept or weren’t delivered as promised
  • Math errors
  • Failure to post returns or other similar payments
  • Failure to send bills to your current address
  • Charges for which you ask for an explanation or written proof of purchase

You can also dispute charges you’re not satisfied with. You’ll need to file this claim within 60 days of when the charge shows up on your statement. Though, you’ll first need to work out your issue with the merchant you purchased from. Other requisites for this type of dispute include:

  • The purchase must exceed $50
  • The purchase must occur within the same state as your address or within 100 miles of your address
  • Your attempt of resolution must be in “good faith” and for a fair settlement

Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $$1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $300. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Credit card disputes are an important and normal part of maintaining healthy finances, particularly as credit card fraud remains a growing problem.

Stick to these guidelines to improve your chances of a successful dispute and learn more about how credit card security works.

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