Despite all your care, your credit card has been stolen, and now there are charges outstanding on it that you never authorised. Are you liable for those charges?

That all depends on the organisation that issued your credit card. If that organisation subscribes to the Banking Code, there are very definite limits to your liability if your card is stolen. The Banking Code Standards Board is an organisation whose mission it is to ensure that banks and building societies adhere to certain rules in dealing with their account holders. Membership in the BCSB is voluntary, but banks and building societies who are members promise to abide by certain rules in the way that they conduct business and treat their customers. These rules include rules on how to deal with lost or stolen credit cards.

According to the Banking Code, section 12:

Liability for losses

12.11 If you act fraudulently, you will be responsible for all losses on your account. If you act without reasonable care, and this causes losses, you may be responsible for them.

As long as you have not acted with complete recklessness, or participated in fraud, you are protected by the following section of the Banking Code.

12.12 Unless we can show that you have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care, your liability for the misuse of your card will be limited as follows.

  • If someone else uses your card, before you tell us it has been lost or stolen or that someone else knows your PIN, the most you will have to pay is £50.Your liability for charges made to your lost or stolen card is £50 per card. In many cases, credit card issuers will even waive that first £50 if you report your card stolen within a reasonable amount of time.
  • If someone else uses your card details without your permission, and your card has not been lost or stolen, you will not have to pay anything.
  • If someone else uses your card details without your permission for a transaction where the cardholder does not need to be present, you will not have to pay anything.
  • If your card is used before you have received it, you will not have to pay anything.

Under the above conditions, you are not liable for any charges made to your card without your permission. If your card is still in your possession and someone else uses your credit card details, you won’t have to pay any of those charges. If someone uses your credit card for ‘card not present’ transactions – for instance, to make online purchases – you don’t have to pay any of those charges. If someone makes charges to your account before you receive your credit card UK Banking Code specifies that you won’t have to pay anything.

Of course, you are still liable for any charges that YOU made to your card. However, if your card is lost or stolen, and you report the loss, the most that you will be liable for on those charges is £50 per card. It is in your best interest to find out before you apply for a credit card whether the issuing organisation subscribes to the UK Banking Code. When you apply for a credit card through, you can easily check each credit card UK issuer to research whether they subscribe to the UK Banking Code.