Banks to return money to cardholders who encounter recent irregular transactions

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BANGKOK (NNT) – Abnormal money deductions through accounts tied to people’s credit and debit cards have affected many card users this month, with banks having identified irregular transactions involving 10,700 cards so far.

The Bank of Thailand said debit cardholders will have their money returned within 5 working days and banks will now implement verification steps for transactions involving very small amounts.

Thai Bankers’ Association President Payong Srivanich disclosed that irregular transactions were detected in 10,700 card accounts upon inspection of data from the start of October until October 17. Most of the transactions occurred between October 14 and 17, and involved debit cards and credit cards in roughly equal proportions.

However, about 30 million baht of damage was incurred through debit cards whereas about 100 million baht was incurred through credit cards.

Mr. Payong reasserted that the fraudulent transactions did not stem from data leaks, but were the results of the perpetrators producing random card numbers and ordering small amounts of deductions that bypassed the verification system in place.

Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, who is in charge of the BOT’s Payment Systems Policy and Financial Technology Group, said the central bank is working with the bankers’ association to put in place measures to prevent the problem.

Scrutiny over irregular transactions has now been expanded to cover small, recurring amounts. Banks will immediately suspend card use upon discovering an irregular transaction and will inform the cardholder through all available channels. Banks will also be on a special lookout for overseas transactions.

Miss Siritida added that debit cardholders will have the stolen amount returned within 5 working days whereas banks will simply cancel the fraudulent transactions in the case of credit card holders, who will not need to pay for any amount or for interest incurred from the irregular transactions.

She said the BOT will discuss implementing additional transaction verification steps with card providers such as Visa and Mastercard, but said any new system would have to be accepted by online vendors in Thailand as well as abroad.