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Security tips for users of cashless payment instruments

As part of its task to supervise means of payment, the Banque de France regularly publishes security advice for users of payment services.

Safety precautions for users of payment cards

Your behaviour make a direct contribution to the security of your payment card. . Please follow these basic security recommendations to protect your transactions.

Be responsible

  • Your card is strictly personal: never lend it to anyone, including to family members.
  • Check regularly that it is still in your possession.
  • If your card has a PIN code, keep it secret. Never give it to anyone. Memorise it and avoid writing it down. Never keep it in the same place as your card.
  • When entering your PIN code, make sure you shield it from onlookers. Use your other hand to cover the keypad on the cash machine or payment terminal.
  • Check your account statements regularly and carefully.



Be vigilant

When paying a merchant:

  • Watch what the shopkeeper does with your card. Never let it out of your sight.
  • Check the amount displayed on the payment terminal before confirming the transaction.


When withdrawing money from an ATM:

  • Check the appearance of the ATM. Try not to use machines that you think have been tampered with.
  • Follow the instructions displayed on the ATM screen: do not let strangers distract you, even if they are offering their help.
  • If the ATM swallows your card and you cannot retrieve it immediately from the bank branch, report it right away.


When making internet payments:

  • Protect your card number: never store it on your computer or send it by email, and check that the website is secure (e.g. a padlock at the bottom of the screen, website address beginning with https).
  • Check that the retailer is reputable and that you are on the right website. Read the seller’s terms and conditions carefully.
  • Protect your computer by installing all security updates proposed by software publishers (these are generally free of charge) and by installing antivirus and firewall software.


When travelling abroad:

  • Find out what security precautions you need to take, and contact your card issuer before leaving to ask what card protection systems can be put in place.
  • Remember to take the international telephone numbers for reporting lost or stolen cards.


Make sure you know what to do

If your card is lost or stolen:

  • Report it immediately by calling the number provided by the card issuer. Make sure you report all of your lost and stolen cards.
  • If your card has been stolen, you must report it to the police as soon as possible.

If you report a lost or stolen card promptly, you will be covered by provisions limiting your liability to the first EUR 150 of fraudulent payments. If you fail to act promptly, you could be liable for all fraudulent payments made before you reported the card missing. Once you have reported a lost or stolen card, you can no longer be held liable. If you notice any unusual transactions on your account statement and are still in possession of your card:

Report this promptly so you are protected against any new fraudulent attempts using misappropriated card data.

Except in the event of gross negligence on your part (e.g. you let someone see your card number and/or PIN and this person has used your card without telling you) or if you deliberately fail to comply with your contractual security obligations (e.g. you have been careless enough to tell someone the card number and/or the PIN and this person has used your card without telling you), you must submit a claim to the institution that issued the card as soon as possible and within a time limit set by law, namely 13 months from the debit date of the contested transaction. You will not be liable. The disputed amounts must be immediately refunded at no charge. Note that if the card was misappropriated in a non-European country, the time limit for submitting a claim is 70 days from the debit date of the contested transaction. Your card issuer may extend this limit, but it cannot be more than 120 days.

Naturally, in the event of fraudulent activity on your part, the protective mechanisms provided for under the law will not apply and you will be liable for all amounts debited before and after reporting the card lost or stolen, as well as any other costs resulting from these transactions (e.g. if there are insufficient funds in the account). 

Updated on: 12/19/2016 15:18