Elderly customer handed over card and PIN to “carer”

Cards and PINs,
Thomas complained to a bank on behalf of Sid about transactions on Sid’s account. Sid was very elderly and couldn’t get around so gave his eftpos card and PIN to someone he referred to as a “trusted carer”. This individual did small jobs for him such as withdraw cash and buy groceries. Thomas became aware that Sid’s carer had, in fact, been making many more transactions than Sid had intended, totalling about $60,000 over several years. Sid was very upset when he found out, but did not want to contact the police about it. Thomas complained to the bank that it should have noticed what was happening. He said the transactions were out of character for Sid, particularly the frequent withdrawals at ATMs, which Sid lacked the mobility to get to. The bank was unable to resolve the complaint and Thomas asked us to investigate.
November 2021


Our investigation

While banks are liable for unauthorised transactions, they are not liable where the customer breached their terms and conditions. The terms and conditions of Sid’s account made it clear that he could not give his card and PIN details to anyone else. Sid had breached his terms and conditions by giving his card and PIN to his carer, and this action was the primary cause of his loss. In terms of Thomas’ concerns about the bank not noticing the transactions, we noted that Sid’s PIN – which should only be known to him – was used to authorise the transactions. As the transactions looked like they had been authorised by Sid, the activity therefore did not trigger any alerts for the bank.


As Sid had provided his card and PIN to his carer, the bank was not required to reimburse him for the transactions. We noted that he could have prevented much of the loss if he had checked his monthly statements.

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