Know Your Rights During Electronic Funds Transfers

We live in a world unlike anything we could have predicted. We shop from electronic devices, keep all of our money on plastic cards, and can buy or sell anything anywhere in the world! While our modern technology and 24/7 connectivity can be wonderfully convenient, it does come with its dangers. Whether you are transferring funds between banks or making a large online purchase, it’s important that you know how to protect yourself. Thankfully, there is a law known as the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) that is designed to keep these kinds of transactions safe and secure.

Most of us use electronic means to manage our finances, and “electronic transfers” are generally defined as transactions that involve computers, phones, or magnetic strips, to authorize a certain financial institution to either credit or debit the consumer’s account. These days, many of our routine financial interactions fall under this category.

Paying online or with the swipe of a card is fast and easy, but it does come with a whole host of fine print. Many consumers are deceived or are victims of fraudulent activity due to the digital nature of today’s financial world. Thankfully, under the EFTA, consumers have access to certain information before and during financial activities, and they also have the right to correct mistakes or fraudulent charges. As a consumer, you are entitled to know things like:

  • Liability summaries of transactions
  • Contact information and proper procedure, in the case of unauthorized transactions
  • Types of transfers available and the associated fees
  • Information and circumstances under which institutions may share your information
  • Summary of your rights to receive information about your account activity
  • Notice of how to make changes to your account or reporting info
  • Much more!

As our economy continues to change, there will be amendments to the EFTA, but as it currently stands, the six most basic transactions that are protected under this law are:

  • ATMs
  • Direct deposits
  • Pay-by-phone
  • Debit cards
  • Internet purchases
  • Electronic check conversion

In 2019, there will be an update to account for some confusion over digital wallets and the EFTA, under the Prepaid Accounts Rule. This will give consumers stronger protection for their credit cards, while managing their digital wallet.

If you want to learn more about your rights under the EFTA, or if you have encountered fraud or misinformation about this law, reach out to us at Martin & Bontrager. Ask for your free consultation to get started.