All card with the MasterCard or Visa logos are protected by fraud policies that do not hold you liable for fraudulent charges when the charge is through their system, although there are exceptions!


As a MasterCard cardholder, you are not responsible for unauthorized purchases charged to your account. The MasterCard Zero Liability coverage extends to purchases made in a store, over the telephone, or on the Web. If you suspect unauthorized activity on your account, stop using your card and contact the issuing as soon as possible.

Zero Liability is provided under the following conditions:

  • Your account is in good standing.

  • You have exercised reasonable care in safeguarding your card.

  • You have not reported two or more unauthorized events in the past 12 months.

Zero Liability does not apply to MasterCard-branded cards issued to an entity other than a natural person; primarily for business, commercial, or agricultural purposes; outside of the U.S. region; or if a PIN is used as the cardholder verification method for the unauthorized transaction(s).


Visa's Zero Liability policy means 100 percent protection for you. Visa's enhanced policy guarantees maximum protection against fraud. You now have complete liability protection for all of your card transactions that take place on the Visa system. Should someone steal your card number while you're shopping, online or off, you pay nothing for their fraudulent activity.

If you notice fraudulent activity on your card, promptly contact your financial institution to report it. It is important to continually monitor your monthly statement to identify any unauthorized transactions.**

The Zero Liability policy covers all Visa credit and debit card transactions processed over the Visa network--online or off. The only transactions not covered under the Zero Liability policy are commercial card, ATM, and non-Visa-branded PIN transactions.

**Cardholders should always regularly check their monthly statements for transaction accuracy. Financial institutions may impose greater liability on the cardholder if the financial institution reasonably determines that the unauthorized transaction was caused by the gross negligence or fraudulent action of the cardholder--which may include your delay for an unreasonable time in reporting unauthorized transactions.


Here is a link for a Consumer Union article pushing for actual 100% fraud protection from MasterCard and Visa.

(info on this page from 2005)