Payments Association of South Africa

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Technical problems are rare but do sometimes occur and you will need to check whether a transaction performed has resulted in the correct amount being dispensed and has been recorded correctly on your account. The withdrawal or error message slip should be retained to serve as reference when you query the transaction. If you have experienced problems with any withdrawal made from an ATM, you must take the matter up with your own bank i.e. the bank that holds your account and issued your card.

In the unlikely event that a customer’s account is debited with the withdrawal amount without the customer actually having received such funds, the two banks involved will communicate with each other, having identified the error during the daily reconciliation processes or when a customer complaint is received. The funds involved will be returned to the affected customer by the service providing bank.

If you have experienced problems with any funds transfer made from an ATM, you must take the matter up with your bank i.e. the bank that holds your account and issued your card.

If you have experienced problems with any payment for prepaid services made from an ATM, you must take the matter up with your bank i.e. the bank that holds your account and issued your card.

A deposit at an ATM follows exactly the same procedure as an over-the-counter deposit. The deposit will be checked and verified by officials of the bank, prior to the credit be applied to your account. Contact your bank for the specific time periods applicable.

The safety of the card and the PIN is your responsibility. Your card and PIN must NEVER be handed to another party for use. Any transaction performed, using your card and PIN is deemed to be performed by you.

Although the industry takes all reasonable precautionary measures to protect clients at ATMs, it is still the responsibility of the client to be alert when withdrawing money from an ATM at any point in time.

Some fraudsters wait until you’ve drawn your cash to take advantage. Be wary of people loitering around the ATM and be careful you are not followed
Take your time to complete your transaction and secure your card and your cash in your wallet, handbag or pocket before leaving the ATM. Check your balance regularly and report discrepancies as soon as possible.

If you think the ATM is faulty, cancel the transaction immediately, report the fault to your bank and try another ATM to transact. NEVER accept help from people you don’t know, even if they seem trustworthy.

To help prevent fraudulent use of your card, here are steps you should take:

  • Sign new cards as soon as you receive them.
  • Keep your card account numbers in a confidential place.
  • Memorise your PIN – don’t write it down anywhere, even when you think it is in a safe place.
  • Check your cards periodically to make sure none are missing.
  • Destroy and dispose of copies of receipts, airline tickets, travel itineraries, anything that displays your card numbers.
  • Check out unfamiliar companies by calling your local consumer protection agency.
  • Don’t provide information that you’re uncomfortable giving.
  • NEVER give anyone the password that you use to log on to your online account or Internet Service Provider.
  • Use reputable websites that have confirmation of adherence to industry security standards such as PCI DSS and 3D Secure on their site.

Don’t provide financial account information unless you are paying for a purchase using that account.

Call the bank or financial institution that issued your card immediately. Your issuer may want to cancel your current card and issue you a new one. Check with your issuer to verify that your mailing address has not been changed. If you still have your card but fraudulent purchases have been made, call your issuer to report the fraud and request a new card. Also, contact the credit bureaus to let them know that fraud has occurred. A “Fraud Alert” message will be placed on your file. You should also request a copy of your credit report and review it carefully.


No, unfortunately the increased use of Cash as a means of payment by the South African consumer gives birth to the associated risks of carrying it – personal robberies. Rather use alternative means of moving money, such as electronic transfers instead of carrying large sums of cash.

Credit Card

Yes. Possible reasons giving rise to a dispute of this nature include:           

  • You forgot about the transaction;
  • You do not recognise the merchant description on the statement, or it does not match the store description where you purchased the goods/service;
  • A family member or friend “borrowed” the card to make a purchase you are not aware of;
  • A fraudulent transaction was done, using your card details or actual card. This could be due to your card being stolen, intercepted in the post, or your card details being compromised (through “skimming”, “shoulder-surfing” or other means), or other reasons. Skimming refers to fraud which is perpetrated as a result of the data on the magnetic stripe on a card being copied by means of a special reader and a new card being created;
  • The merchant initiated a fraudulent transaction, using your card details 

Yes, it is possible to dispute transactions on the grounds that a service was not rendered, goods were not received, or goods were incorrectly delivered or were damaged.  Your first recourse should be directly to the merchant that had sold you the goods and/ or rendered services. If you are unable to reach the merchant concerned, or unable to resolve the matter directly, you may approach the bank that issued the credit card to you for assistance.  The issuing bank will request you to send the dispute in writing, giving your motivation and as much detail as possible of all the pertinent facts of the case. The bank may then institute a charge-back process, which means that it would reverse the transaction from your account and send it back to the bank that submitted the transaction (acquiring bank) on behalf of the Merchant. Obviously, in such cases any damaged or incorrect goods must be returned to the merchant concerned.  It is important to know that banks, PASA, Visa, MasterCard or any other entity involved in facilitating the transaction and/or charge-back will under no circumstances get involved in any dispute resolution or arbitration process between the Cardholder and Merchant.

Arbitration is the process to resolve a disputed transaction when the Charge-back and Re-presentment process fails to resolve the dispute.

In the event that a merchant is unwilling to accept the charge-back initiated by the cardholder, the merchant may re-present the transaction. However, if the cardholder is still unwilling to accept the re-presented purchase transaction, he may then again dispute the transaction with his issuing bank, who will in turn charge it back to the acquiring bank of the merchant.

The time period for cardholder related disputes is 120 days after the statement date. Other charge backs could have different timeframes.

A reversal transaction takes place when the cardholder requests the merchant from whom he purchased the goods or services to reverse or cancel the original credit card purchase transaction. This would generally occur immediately after the original purchase, or preferably on the same day – at least before the transactions on the terminal or store server have been “banked” with the acquiring bank. In such a case the purchase transaction is effectively cancelled or aborted before its completion.

A refund transaction occurs when the cardholder approaches the merchant from whom the goods or services where purchased and, for whatever reason (return of goods, non-delivery of goods, incorrect goods or services, etc.), wishes the merchant to refund or rebate the full original amount. If the merchant agrees, the result is a “credit” transaction from the acquiring bank to the issuing bank, which then reimburses the cardholder the full amount.
In the event that a cardholder and merchant are unable to agree on a reversal or refund transaction, the cardholder has the right to declare a dispute and request his issuing bank to perform a charge-back transaction on his behalf.

A recurring credit card transaction is one which is similar to a debit order (EFT Debit), but which has been authorised by means of a credit card and which is deducted on a monthly basis from the credit card account. This is typically used by merchants collecting on dues which have the same value every month, such as gym or health clubs’ membership fees, pay TV subscriptions, etc.

From April 2013, the initial authorisation for all subsequent recurring credit card transactions must involve a physical card and PIN (i.e. the cardholder must be present at the time of the agreement being reached). If the agreement between the parties (cardholder and third party beneficiary) continues beyond the expiry date of the card that was used, the issuing bank is obliged to provide the updated details when a new authorisation is requested.

In the event that the stipulations of the underlying agreement and/or the recurring credit card transaction agreement (between Cardholder and third-party beneficiary) have either been breached, or the expiry/ termination date reached, and the beneficiary has not ended the collection of funds, the Cardholder must follow the following two steps:

Step 1:

The Cardholder must provide the beneficiary party with a written CANCELLATION notification.

Should the beneficiary party (merchant or other third party) continue to submit recurring credit card transactions after the cancellation date, the cardholder can proceed to:

Step 2:

Dispute the credit card transaction by requesting a CHARGE-BACK from the card issuer or card provider. The charge-back can be done at a branch, but in some cases also via a call centre or an email to the issuing bank.

The reasons given for the charge-back could include:

  • Goods or services not delivered or provided; or
  • Goods or services are damaged, or not in accordance with the agreement.

Such a dispute can be lodged with the card issuing bank up to 180 days after the statement date. The beneficiary party has up to 30 days after the charge-back has been submitted to provide proof of the agreement/ receipt, and of the provision of the service/ goods.

Immediately notify your issuing bank of this development, providing your personal details (full names and ID number), and the card numbers concerned. If this was done telephonically (to the call centre, for example) it is advisable to follow it up with a written confirmation (either by fax, letter or email) confirming the exact details, circumstances, date and time frames. The card number(s) will then be placed on a special list (referred to as a negative file) and any transactions performed AFTER notifying the issuing bank can then be disputed and charged-back. Your bank will also issue you with a new credit card. Once a fraudulent transaction has been performed on the card, the card number is placed on the Hot Card List – which is a smaller list than the Negative File, and downloaded up to terminal level.
Tip: Save your bank’s contact numbers as they appear on the back of the card to your cell phone.
As soon as you notice the theft or loss of your credit card, you should contact your issuing bank in South Africa immediately – or else the local Visa or MasterCard office (depending on the brand on your card) in the country that you are in at the time. As soon as the above have been notified, your card will be blocked. All they need from you is your name and the card number, and you can be certain there will be no further personal losses on the card. Both Visa and MasterCard offer an international lost and stolen card reporting 24-hour emergency service. This service is also offered in a number of languages to assist the cardholder, and can deal with the situation even if the card issuing bank’s own call-centre is closed.
Yes. In most cases you may expect a replacement card within 24 hours or one business day anywhere in the world.
The local Visa or MasterCard office will contact your card issuing bank in South Africa for authorization first. Then on approval, they will get an emergency replacement card to you through their network of couriers, embossing hubs, product replacement centres and emergency service locations.
Yes. Please refer to your credit card issuing bank for more details.
No, a merchant may not “penalise” you for using a credit card for a purchase transaction. This practice is generally known as surcharging and is not acceptable. The amount charged should match the displayed or advertised price.
The Merchant may, however, offer a discount off the displayed price for paying in Cash (for example).
Yes, most issuers offer a wide variety of additional services or means of enhanced protection to you as a consumer. These range from travel insurance, extended warranties on goods purchased, additional protection in case of loss through fire or accident of goods purchased, as well as some help lines, loyalty schemes and the like. There is also protection in the event that a company that you purchase a service or goods from, was unable to deliver the goods/ service due to bankruptcy. The best source of these benefits would be directly from your issuing bank.
The six months scheduled repayments option generally offered at South African merchants (as a “budget” facility) is a uniquely South African innovation, and is not generally available anywhere else. In this circumstance, the transaction defaults to a “straight” purchase (i.e. the whole amount is reflected on your credit card account).
No, this practice of either recording the card number (electronically or manually) or even of taking an imprint of your card, is no longer allowed. Some merchants record the card details to serve as a reference number during reversals or cancellations of purchases. However, in terms of the PCI DSS requirements to which merchants must comply, this is no longer allowed. See more on PCI DSS at the end of the card section below.
This feature that some merchants offer at the time of purchase is referred to as “dynamic currency conversion”. Under normal circumstances any transaction is process in the local currency, and is then converted to US dollars (USD) by Visa or MasterCard when it reaches their network, only to be converted again to SA Rands (ZAR) by your card issuing bank before appearing on your statement. Both Visa/ MasterCard and your issuing bank charge a currency conversion fee, with the result that the price of the article purchased sometimes seems higher than the best published conversion rates. In addition, there is an exposure to currency fluctuations between the purchase date and the date that the merchant submits it for clearing to his acquiring bank (which then goes through the global network as described). However, the currency could either strengthen or weaken during this time – to your advantage or disadvantage.
The benefit of accepting the merchant’s offer of a fixed Rand rate, is therefore certainty of the end price. However, a WARNING is also in order, as some Merchants charge excessive currency conversion premiums – far more than the combined margins described above! It is therefore very important to carefully consider the offer and do your own calculations before blindly accepting the “offer”.

3D Secure, also known as Verified by Visa, MasterCard SecureCode or Amex Safekey, is a method of authentication security, which was developed by the Card Schemes to enhance the security of online transactions for all Cardholders. It allows only the cardholder to use the card when shopping online.

The three domains referred to in “3D” Secure consist of the cardholder to issuer domain, the merchant to acquiring bank domain and the interbank domain.
Very simply, the system authenticates the cardholder before any transaction can take place, by diverting the cardholder to the browser of the bank that issued the card. The bank then requests a password or One Time Password/PIN (OTP), from the Cardholder, which is typically sent to their mobile phones, which will prove that the person undertaking the online transaction is the authenticated Cardholder and therefore entitled to use the card.

The impact of 3D Secure while making an online payment should be minimal and generally would take less than a minute or two to complete. If you already registered or have been registered by the bank, you will be prompted with an additional screen requesting an OTP or a PIN/Password. OTPs are sent to the mobile phone number the bank has on record for you, the Cardholder, whilst a PIN or Password is a secret code the cardholder has chosen when you registered for 3D Secure or at the time of issuing the card. Simply enter the OTP, PIN or Password in the given space and proceed.
If you have not registered or been registered for the 3D Secure service, you will be prompted with a screen asking you to register for 3D Secure. Follow the prompts on the screen to register. Remember, it is in your best interest to be safe.

3D Secure is not a new system and Cardholders should not be anxious or nervous to use it.  Many Merchants have been using 3D Secure effectively for a number of years and we see thousands of 3D Secure transactions going through the system every month. Some tips for a good experience include:

  • Ensure you have the card you wish to pay with ready.
  • Ensure you have your mobile phone with you to receive the OTP or you know what your PIN or Password is, depending on what your bank’s authentication method is.
  • After entering your PIN/Password, the system may take a couple of seconds to authenticate your PIN/Password. This is normal – do not close the browser.
  • If you receive an error message, be sure to read the message on the screen. You may have entered your PIN/Password incorrectly in which case you will be allowed to retry.  Although minimal, there may also be other reasons why the transaction failed, in which case we recommend that you follow the instructions on the screen or contact your bank for further assistance.
All e-commerce Merchants are mandated by PASA to use 3D Secure. If the Merchant does not indicate its use of 3D Secure and you are not sure whether it uses 3D Secure, or not, we encourage you to contact the Merchant directly to find out if it participates in 3D Secure.

Debit Card

Yes. Certain merchants, especially large food retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite-Checkers, certain Spar stores and others do offer customers the option of drawing Cash at their tills. They may be in the form of a “pure cash-back”, or in combination with a purchase.

This depends on both the retailer and card issuer. Some retailers will limit the amount to R300 only, for example, while others will allow you to withdraw the maximum allowed by the issuing bank (which can be as high as R3 000).

Some banks allow for the cardholder to set their own daily or transaction limits at a higher level than the default limit. It may also be that the bank combines the cash limit with the total limit for purchases of goods/ services, and even cash withdrawals at ATMs. This is called a portfolio limit.

It depends on the type of debit card that your bank has issued to you. Generally most debit cards cannot be used to initiate purchases online, as debit card transactions are for electronic (i.e. on-line) use only, and need to be verified with the use of a PIN after the card has been swiped in a PIN Pad. Such cards are generally Maestro or Electron branded debit cards and are unembossed. It is, however, possibly to use your cheque card or embossed debit card, linked to your current account, for purchases over the internet. Such cards are generally branded as MasterCard Debit/ cheque cards, or Visa debit/ cheque cards.
It is possible that you are a victim to fraudsters and that your card has been “skimmed”. Check your debit card statements and verify your last authorised transaction. Make sure that you do have your debit card (that it is not lost). Report the incident to your bank for assistance and if it is established that it might be fraud, ensure that the card is blocked and that you are issued a replacement card. Then report the incident to the SAPS and obtain a case number.
Most banks now issue Chip debit cards. Ask your bank to replace your current Magnetic Stripe debit card with a Chip debit card. If there are unable or unwilling to do so, consider changing banks!
A “combi card” or “combo card” is a multifunctional card which some banks offer which incorporates a credit card and debit card (linked to cheque account and/or saving account) facilities on a single plastic card. The choice of which function to use can then be selected at the merchant POS or when withdrawing cash at an ATM.
In the case of a chip card, such a card is generally referred to as a “multi-functional” chip card.
Contactless smart cards are Chip cards that do not require physical contact between card and reader or terminal, but are generally activated by “waving” the card near the reading device or “tapping” the device. As the card is not inserted, these transactions do not require PIN authentication. They are becoming increasingly popular for low value, high volume payment – be on the lookout for advertising in some major retailer stores who have already or will be deploying contactless capable POS terminals very soon. Contactless payments are also very useful in the transit environment (trains, buses and taxis) by using either stand-alone pre-paid cards, or else the contactless option can be integrated into your normal chip card.
Worldwide, contactless payments are becoming more popular and should not be feared. The technology used for contactless payments are very secure. If you card is lost or stolen, you need to ensure that you contact your bank to stop your card, which will ensure your card cannot be used, even for contactless transactions.

Low Value Debits

A debit order collection is a transaction where debit order collectors can collect money from a debit order payer’s bank account without the payer having to do anything other than giving the collector approval to do so. Debit order collections are widely used to collect monthly premiums on life and investment policies, mortgage and car payments, medical aid subscriptions, magazine and TV subscriptions, etc. It provides the payer with a cost effective and very convenient way to make payments.

There are three types of debit orders. They are DebiCheck, RMS and EFT debits. DebiCheck is the gold standard and offers numerous benefits to debit order collectors and debit order payers.

A stop order is an instruction that a stop order payer gives to their bank to make a series of future dated recurring payments.

A debit order collection is an instruction that a debit order payer gives to a debit order collector to collect payment against the payer’s account.

Stop order and debit order limits are agreed by industry and are reviewed from time to time. Please refer to your bank for their specific limits.

Ten banks currently participate in DebiCheck and there are banks which do not participate yet. Click here for the participating banks.

Not all debit order collectors participate in DebiCheck. Please clarify this with your service provider prior to concluding a debit order transaction.

It’s important to honour your debit order agreements as not doing so could have negative consequences.
There may also be a charge/penalty if a debit order is unpaid. To avoid paying a penalty for missing a debit order payment for reasons such as having insufficient funds in your account, follow these steps:

  • Ensure that there is money in your account to cover the amount of the debit order.
  • Contact the service provider to make a payment arrangement other than what you have in place, according to the debit order mandate you have given; or
  • Contact your service provider to cancel the debit order in the correct way, if you are unable or unwilling to pay the monthly account.

Debit order payers must contact the debit order collectors who are collecting against their accounts to cancel a debit order collection, as the agreement to collect funds from the payer’s account is between the payer and the collector.

Once the payer has approached the collector, they may approach their bank to assist them with a ‘stop payment’ (EFT) or ‘suspend mandates’ (AC and RMS), which allows the cancellation of the debit order.

The debit order payer has the right to query any debit order collection that they believe was incorrectly debited against their account. However not all disputes will result in a reversal.

It is recommended that the payer should always first approach the debit order collector who has debited the payer’s account, as the agreement to collect funds from the payer’s account is between the payer and the collector. Only if this course of action has proved to be unsuccessful, should the payer approach their bank.

Payers should engage their bank regarding their specific dispute conditions, including timelines around which reversals will take place.


Credit tracking involves the monitoring of an account (cheque or savings account) by the bank to detect any credits coming into that account, and because of the credit, to trigger an AC transaction that has been earmarked for credit tracking. This typically comes into effect after the initial payment instruction was unsuccessful on the contracted due date (due to late salary payment, public holidays, systems problems, etc.). The participating banks offer a variety of credit tracking periods, ranging from a few days up to 10 days.
A payroll deduction is a deduction that is made by the employer on the payroll of an employee for statutory purposes such as mandated taxes (PAYE, SITE), medical aid, pension funds contribution, etc
A garnishee order is typically obtained by a debit order collector from a magisterial court, when sufficient proof is provided to the court that the debit order payer is unable to meet their repayment obligations in terms of a credit agreement or an HP agreement for goods purchased. The deductions are usually achieved by means of a payroll deduction.

EFT Credits

The credit should be processed immediately in most cases.
Where more than one bank is involved, for reasons of efficiency, the processing of such transactions is usually processed overnight, which means that the funds may take between 24 and 48 hours to reflect on a customer’s account.
Some banks offer immediate payments, where funds are available immediately depending on the payment system used.
The maximum value of a credit payment is currently set at R5 000 000 – (Five Million Rand). Additional transactional limits are introduced per payment system and should reach to the bank to confirm such values. For payments above these values, clients (retail or corporate) must request their bank to make a payment via the bank RTGS systems.
The paying customer is responsible for ensuring the correct beneficiary account number is provided to the paying bank. Neither the paying nor the receiving bank can be held liable if they acted on information supplied by the paying/initiating customer.
The first course action is to contact your bank immediately, informing them of your dilemma. Your bank will be able to guide you regarding the correct processes to follow.
Unfortunately, the rules of the Credit payment system do not make provision for a dispute process between two users or two customers (in this case a payer and a payee). Your only recourse is a common law right outside the payment system regulation to claim from the incorrect beneficiary based on unjustified enrichment. Your bank would also be able to provide you with the necessary documented proofs and audit trails regarding the payment concerned.


The maximum value of a RTC payment is R5 000 000. However, over weekends, public holidays and on working days after hours, the transaction limit is set at R250 000.
For payments above these values, clients (retail or corporate) must request their bank to make a payment via the RTGS system.


A SASSA card is a MasterCard debit card issued by Grindrod Bank on behalf of SASSA to qualifying social grant recipients or beneficiaries. This card is issued once social grant recipients have registered onto the SASSA national social grant payment system currently operated by Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).

The SASSA card can be used to access the social grant anywhere in the country and at any time using multiple payment channels, such as ATMs, cash pay-points, and merchant stores.

Your SASSA Payment Card can be used from the first day of the month at any of the following pay points.
  • Cash Pay Point
These are usually for remote locations where there are limited or no ATMs or merchants with Point of Sale terminals, and where there is limited or no cellular or fixed line communications coverage. They are usually mobile payment points operated by CPS and require a fingerprint biometric for authentication. When you get to a Cash Pay Point you will be requested to place one of your fingers onto a fingerprint scanner and your fingerprint will be verified against the one on your SASSA Payment Card after which your social grant money gets automatically paid to you.
  • Participating Payment Vendor or Retailer
Should you opt to go to a participating payment vendor to obtain your grant (such as Boxer, Pick & Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Spar) proceed directly to the cashier and request payment – you can determine the amount you wish to withdraw, provided it does not exceed the amount which is available on your card. The cashier will swipe or dip your card at the Point of Sale (POS) device and request you to place your finger on the biometric scanner or key in your secret PIN on the PIN Pad of the POS device. If the PIN is found to be correct the cashier will be able to process payment of your grant money.
  • Any other Retailer or Merchant
Should you opt to go to a merchant or retailer that does not have device that supports the proprietary biometric reader, proceed to the cashier and request payment – you can determine the amount you wish to withdraw, provided it does not exceed the amount which is available on your card. The cashier will swipe your card at the Point of Sale (POS) device and request you to key in your secret PIN on the PIN Pad of the POS device. If the PIN is found to be correct the cashier will be able to process payment of your grant money.
  • ATM
If you proceed to an ATM you will insert your card into the card reader slot/opening – where after you will be prompted to key in your secret PIN, select the type of bank account you have (which in this instance is a Savings Account). Next, you will be prompted to type in the amount you wish to withdraw. The money will be dispensed by the ATM.
Yes, this is encouraged rather than drawing cash as it is safer. All retailers with POS terminals will be able to accept your card for purchase transactions, provided you remember your PIN.
You can request a balance enquiry at any of the ATMs and POS devices.
In all instances you must get a receipt which will state the following: money available, amount withdrawn and balance still available.

You may not use your card as security to get a loan from a money lender;

You may not hand over the card to a money lender should you have made a loan for money from a money lender;

You may not falsely state that the card was lost if it was pledged with a money lender to secure a loan;


Toll-free number: 0800 60 10 11 or CPS: 0800 60 01 60

Emergency enquiries: 012 400 2322 for re-registration

Travel Cards

Yes, it would be possible from a systems and technology perspective. However, the SARB Foreign Exchange regulations currently prohibit this, and therefore such transactions are blocked by the issuer. In terms of these regulations, upon return the card holder needs to draw the funds in Rands at the bank of issue, or request an electronic transfer of the funds into his account.

Visa and MasterCard also enforce a “no surcharging” rule on acquiring banks and their Merchants. This means that merchants may not add a penalty fee (called a “surcharge”) onto the price of goods or services in the event that a customer chooses to pay with a credit or debit card. The rule is very clear that the price as advertised may be charged, and nothing more. Merchants may, however, offer a discount if customers pay cash.

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