Unauthorised and mistaken transactions

Mistakes with your banking

An unauthorised transaction is one made by someone else using your account without your knowledge or consent. A mistaken transaction is when you pay the wrong person or company by incorrectly typing the BSB or account number or having the wrong information from the person you are paying.

You should always check your bank statements to make sure there are no mistakes. The sooner you report a problem, the more likely you will get your money back.

The ePayments Code

The ePayments Code is a code of practice that virtually all banks, building societies, credit unions and even some payment services have signed up to. It protects you when using electronic payments, including when you:

  • Withdraw money from an ATM
  • Buy goods or services on EFTPOS or credit cards (though not when you authorise the purchase using manual signature)
  • Do telephone or internet banking
  • Use your credit card over the phone or internet
  • Use mobile phone payment services

You can find out more about the ePayments Code on the ASIC website.

When you will get your money back

  • If a forged, expired or cancelled PIN or card was used
  • If there was fraudulent conduct by employees of your account institution or merchant
  • If the transaction took place before you received your card, PIN or code
  • If a merchant incorrectly debited your account more than once
  • If the transaction took place after you told your account institution that your card was lost or stolen or that someone else may know your PIN or password
  • If it's clear that you haven't contributed to the loss
  • If you put in the wrong BSB or account number and you contact your account institution within 10 days, and the money is still in the recipient's account. Your account institution must also be satisfied that the mistake is genuine. (It will be a slower process if you report the problem after 10 days but you should still get your money back if the money is still in the recipient's account. If it is more than 7 months then you may not get your money back if the person has spent the money you sent them and they refuse to return the money to you.)

When you won't get your money back

  • You acted fraudulently
  • You didn't keep your PIN or password secret
  • You unreasonably delayed telling your account institution that your card was lost or stolen or that someone else may know your PIN or code
  • You accidentally left your card in an ATM

Even in these circumstances the amount you are liable for is subject to certain caps.

How to report a problem

Smart tip

When you report a mistake on your account make sure you get a reference number to verify that you made the report.

Before you report an unauthorised or mistaken transaction you should check if your bank, credit union, building society or payment service provider has signed up to the ePayments Code. You can check on this ePayments Code subscribers' list.

If your bank, credit union, building society or payment service provider is a member of the code they must give you your money back in the circumstances outlined above. If they are not a member, you can still raise your concerns with them. You can also ask them to become a member of the Code.

To report a mistake on your account, call your bank, credit union, building society or payment service provider as soon as possible and let them know. You need to do this quickly to fix up problem and prevent any more unauthorised transactions.

Time limits on reporting

With mistaken transactions if you report the problem within 10 days of it occurring then you should get your money back if the money is still in the recipient's account. It will be a slower process if the transaction occurred more than 10 days ago but you should still be able get your money back if the money is still in the recipient's account.

If it has been more than 7 months since the incorrect transaction then the chances of getting your money back are greatly reduced as the person or company you paid may have spent the money you sent.

It is worth closely checking your account statements every month for any wrong transactions.


Related links


Last updated: 18 Feb 2016