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Fraud vs Disputes: What's the difference?

When you have a transaction you don’t recognize, are questioning, or don’t feel like the item or service received lines up with what you expected, it’s important to know what steps to take.  Here’s an easy guide to recognize if a charge should be considered Fraud, or a Dispute.

Fraudulent Transaction is a charge from a company that you have not done business with and you do not know how they obtained your card number.

Disputed Transaction is a charge from a company that you have done business with, but they have charged an additional charge without your permission, or you feel that the services or merchandise received was not what you paid for.

For a transaction to be considered fraudulent, you must be able to answer 'no' to the following questions:


  1. Do you know who made the transaction using your debit card?
  2. Is the transaction a result of you signing up for a 'free trial' online where you were required you to use your debit card to pay for shipping only or as a payment method after the free trial ends?
  3. Did you voluntarily give your debit card number to anyone over the phone, provide it on a mailed form or email, or enter it on a website or through a mobile app?
  4. Did you voluntarily give or loan your debit card to anyone? No claims can be made if you voluntarily gave your card to someone.

Steps to take if you have a Dispute:

  1. Contact the merchant.  If you have taken advantage of a 'free trial' that required you to put your card on file, it is usually the case that the fine print requires you to cancel directly with the company within a specific timeframe in order to avoid your card being charged. If it has been charged, please reach out to cancel with the merchant.   
  2. Ask them to issue credit for unused services/goods.  You may be required to send back any unused goods, and may only be refunded for services or subscriptions on a prorated basis. 
  3. When speaking with the merchant, make sure to note the date, any cancellation numbers, information about the credit you are expecting, etc.  

With a Cardholder dispute, TruChoice is submitting a dispute between you and the merchant to VISA® on your behalf. 

VISA® makes a final determination as to whether or not TruChoice can “charge back” the transaction to the merchant for your purchase.

If VISA® allows us to do a charge back for the transaction, you will be reimbursed for the purchase. However, if VISA® denies the request, we cannot charge back the transaction, and you will not be reimbursed. Before we can submit a dispute on your behalf, we ask you to provide TruChoice with documentation showing you made an attempt to resolve the issue with the merchant before we are able to submit a dispute to VISA on your behalf.

At TruChoice, when you initiate a Fraud or Dispute claim, we will issue you ‘Provisional Credit’ for the amount claimed.  This will allow you to still have access to the funds while we are working with Visa to determine whether the claim will be approved. If the claim is approved, the provisional credit will become permanent.  If the claim is denied, the provisional credit will be reversed.  It is important to note that if you have used the provisional funds during the dispute process, and the claim is denied, you will need to pay that amount back to the credit union.

Pin Based Transactions

If you believe someone's used your card and PIN to complete transactions without your knowledge or permission, and you did not authorize anyone to perform ATM withdrawals or other PIN-based transactions on your account, please call us at 207.772.0808 to close your card and prevent any further transactions and for further instructions on what to do next.

When to contact us

When you suspect fraud due to a lost or stolen card, you must notify us within two (2) business days of the date you first become aware of the card not being in your possession. If you fail to notify us within two (2) business days, you may be liable for up to $500. 

For suspected fraudulent transactions when you still have the card in your possession, you must notify us within 60 days of when the statement with the fraudulent charge was mailed. If you do not tell us within 60 days after the statement was mailed to you, you may not get back any money lost after the 60 days.

When you have a dispute, please contact the merchant or service provider before reaching out to TruChoice.  If you can't get in contact with them or come to an agreement with the merchant, contact us. Disputes must be made within 60 days of the statement being mailed to you.