How to bank online safely Best banks for dealing with bank fraud

Pile of bank cards on a keyboard with a fishing hook in one

Your bank should refund you immediately if you are a victim of bank fraud

Which? has rated 20 banks and credit card companies on how well they handle fraud claims.   

UK online banking fraud increased by 48% to £60.4m between 2013 and 2014, while card fraud losses rose by 6% to £479m, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. 

In July 2015, Which? surveyed 3,339 members and found that six in 10 had experienced fraud. We asked them to rate how their provider handled the claim - results are in the table below. 

Find out how to stay safe from bank fraud with our tips for avoiding phishing and identity theft.

Best and worst providers for dealing with bank fraud

Provider

Communication after
the fraud occurred

Guidance on how to minimise future risk of fraud

Overall response

Credit card providers
John Lewis/Waitrose (76)86%62%93%
M&S Bank (50)88%61%92%
Co-operative Bank (30)80%-90%
Nationwide (62)75%74%90%
American Express (35)80%-89%
Barclaycard (143)70%61%87%
HSBC (37)70%-84%
MBNA (50)76%60%84%
NatWest (75)79%73%84%
Capital One (42)74%59%83%
Santander (30)80%-83%
Tesco Bank (69)75%59%83%
Lloyds Bank (31)--74%
Halifax (34)56%-68%
Debit card providers
Lloyds Bank (58)79%69%88%
Nationwide (48)77%74%85%
Santander (37)81%74%84%
NatWest (42)67%67%79%
HSBC (34)59%58%76%
Barclays Bank (54)55%56%61%

Table notes: Which? surveyed 3,339 members online about card fraud in July 2015
Percentages indicate providers rated good and excellent. Sample sizes in brackets. Sample sizes for different questions varied. A dash indicates that the sample size wasn't big enough to quote results.

Bank fraud and your rights

If you’ve been a victim of fraud, your bank or credit card provider should refund you immediately, unless it has evidence that you authorised the transaction, or acted with ‘gross negligence’. Even if you were careless, your liability may be limited to £50 if the fraud occurred on your credit card, or a credit facility such as a current account overdraft.

If your provider refuses to refund you after you’ve been defrauded, the first step is to try to resolve it using its internal complaints process. If that doesn’t work, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The FOS told us it sees many cases where banks have rejected complaints without conducting a full investigation. We obtained FOS data on how many cases about fraud and disputed transactions are upheld in the consumer’s favour.  

These figures suggest Barclays customers are at particular risk of getting a raw deal. The FOS ordered the bank to pay up in 56% of cases about disputed transactions between April 2014 and March 2015. Almost as many Santander customers (47%) were wrongly denied compensation, compared with just 22% for NatWest.

Disputed transaction complaints to the FOS

ProviderUpheld in favour of the consumerNew cases received (Apr 14 - Mar 15)
Barclays Bank56%598
Santander UK47%397
Nationwide Building Society37%131
Lloyds Bank36%316
HSBC Bank30%230
Bank of Scotland29%253
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)24%112
NatWest22%384

Table notes: Figures cover all disputed transactions for credit and debit cards which may include misplaced transactions, missing payments, ATM disputes and debits applied incorrectly by retailers.
New cases don't relate directly to the uphold rate, as resolved cases can include older cases, but the numbers are broadly similar.

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Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.