ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

When it comes to 'double debits', rely on the card machine not the bank SMS

Bank SMS notifications can be misleading when used as proof of transactions, says consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

While consumers are righftully worried about having their bank account debited twice, the point of sale machines (or card machines) are more reliable than the SMS from banks.

Retailers find it hard to convince customers that the “transaction declined” slip trumps bank notification, Knowler says.

But it's true.

The SMS which the bank sends to its customers is not absolute transactional proof of activity on a bank account, she explains.

A card machine will always print either a slip indicating the successful transaction or a slip with details of the error.

If an error ticket is printed, you can be sure that the transaction has not been processed yet, Knowler advises.

The fact is, the SMS which the bank sends to its customers is not absolute transactional proof that this money has come out of your account.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

The card machine trumps the SMS that you get from your bank.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Believe the cashier when they show you that the [transaction was not successful].

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

If you are asked to swipe your card again, insist on being given that slip with the error details.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

She discusses some case studies and what various SA banks are doing to combat the frustration of double debits.

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion during The Pippa Hudson Show:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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