A Guangzhou bank is fully responsible for charges made on a phony credit card in one of its customer's names.
The Yuexiu District People's Court in Guangzhou issued the ruling Monday.
The plaintiff, surnamed Chen, got a credit card at the bank in 1995 and a supplementary card for his wife in 1997. Someone used a counterfeit version of the supplementary card to spend more than 12,000 yuan ($1,900) in Macao in June last year. According to the couple's exit and entrance records, they were not in Macao at the time.
Passwords are not required for expenditures less than 50,000 yuan for both principal and supplementary cards. Only a check of the signatures of Chen and his wife were needed. The signature on the counterfeit card was not Chen's wife's.
The bank argued that Chen's wife might have entrusted the card to someone else or been careless with it. However, the bank failed to offer proof of the alleged entrustment and negligence.
The court said that the bank is responsible for the damages because it didn't ensure the card's security, nor did it effectively identify the signature to avoid fraud.
"I will consider setting passwords for spending of a smaller amount, but I have also heard that card holders will be required to take part of the responsibility of the damage if the spending is made after the entry of passwords," Chen said.
"I think card holders are still at a disadvantage compared to banks in credit card disputes."
Chen sued the bank because the bank hadn't replied seven months after he reported the case to the police and handed the evidence to the bank.
"I'm not confident about the security of credit cards, but I have been used to using them. I wish banks could adopt more measures to ensure their security," Chen said.
The court dealt with 30 cases of bank-card counterfeiting from 2007 to 2011. The number has seen a sharp increase, with the number of such cases from January to August this year amounting to 70. Seventeen of the 70 cases concern credit cards without passwords being counterfeited.
According to the court, criminals have adopted new methods to counterfeit credit cards, such as duplicating the information through point-of-sale machines.
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