“In what is a first-to-market response by Absa, customers now also have the ability to personally reverse unauthorised debit orders at any time by logging on to Absa Online” says Marius de la Rey, Chief Executive, Customer Channels & Distribution, Barclays Africa Retail and Business Banking. By Staff Writer
Absa customers have been empowered to view all debit orders that have gone off their accounts during a given period of time, request that any debit order which has taken place in the last 40 days be reversed (and they will receive the money back in their account instantly) as well as stop debit orders from going off their account in future.
“Unauthorised debit orders have become a huge challenge for all banks. Customers now have the ability to view and stop debit orders quickly and easily using online banking,” added De la Rey.
The use of this functionality is completely free for all Absa customers and available any time and any place.
According to data from the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA), South African banks collectively process approximately 31 million debit orders every month, of which around 120 000 are disputed.
Many of these disputes are due to fraud and invalid mandates and the media regularly reports on complaints from customers who have been fleeced by way of unauthorised or fraudulent debit orders. PASA is working hard to crack down on this scourge, and since November 2013, about 300 rogue users have been taken off the debit order system, meaning they cannot have debit orders processed by any bank.
In line with the TCF (Treating Customers Fairly) principles, customers have a right to dispute an incorrectly concluded transaction and stop future transactions.
“Such debit orders can be reversed or disputed within 40 days after the debit or thereafter while an instruction to cancel a debit order remains on Absa’s system for a period of six months. After this, the service provider may again attempt to debit the account and it will be processed,” says Marius.
It is therefore important that clients check their statements regularly for any fraudulent debits, which in most cases are very small amounts which can easily be missed.
Marius however cautions customers against cancelling debit orders in an attempt to manage their cash flow.
“Many consumers unjustly dispute debit orders when they are short of cash or run into financial difficulties. It is important for customers to note that, if they use the dispute process to manage cash flow, they run the risk of losing out on policy pay-outs when they claim, due to inconsistent payment history. Similarly, a high dispute ratio in a person’s account will lead to that person’s risk profile being negatively impacted,” he warns.
The debit order reversal, stop and authorisation feature is now available online to existing and new Absa customers at www.absa.co.za