Credit Card

Is It Legit to Use Someone Else ‘s Debit Card

The advent of paper money brought a lot of ease to human transactions, and thereafter, the coming of digital means of payment placed the icing on the cake. One no longer needed to carry around a lot of cash when they could just slide in their financial cards and make payments.

There is no doubt that debit cards come in handy and are enticing means of payment. However, they can easily tempt one to use another person’s card at a time of need.

This is something almost everyone is guilty of, and only a few are aware of the legality of doing so. Hence, this article attempts to elucidate on the wrongs or otherwise of using another person’s debit card.

A person using another’s debit card can either be authorized to do so or not. But, in either case, does it make it right? Come along with me to find out.

Authorized Card Usage

It is no news that people freely give out their debit cards to be used by others, maybe because they are too busy to run the errands themselves or as a sense of responsibility. This can be found between spouses, family members, close friends, and other intimate relationships.

Is It Legit to Use Someone Else 's Debit Card

As accommodating as this act might seem, it could be a violation of the agreement between the cardholder and the issuer. Hence, it is advised to review such agreements to know whether sharing your card is permitted or not.

While some issuers prohibit sharing cards with anyone who isn’t named on the card, others note that, though it does not count as unauthorized usage, the original holder would, however, be liable for all charges they make with the card.

The cardholder is, therefore, to bear all risks involved in sharing their card.

Some risks include:

  • Using more money than what was agreed upon

When a cardholder gives out their card to be used by another individual, they face the risk of that individual using more than what they bargained for.

If that happens, the cardholder might not be able to claim the excess money spent or have the bank reimburse them if the individual they lent their card to empties the account using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

  • Using your card for dangerous purchases

When an individual gets hold of your card and the PIN, any purchase can be made on anything whatsoever.

If such an individual makes purchases of prohibited items or dangerous items and an investigation is done, it would be traced back to the cardholder, and they will be held liable for the purchase made with their card.

The user of the card is, in the same vein, subjected to certain risks while they are in possession of a debit card that isn’t theirs.

Risks for borrowers:

Getting arrested: Nobody can automatically tell if you got permission ahead of time, so the belief may be that you’re committing fraud. If a merchant asks for a means of identification and authorization, and you can’t provide it, things might get out of hand. The card might be taken away, and even worse, the police would get involved.

Criminal charges: Having been arrested, criminal charges might be initiated against the user of such a debit card.

What’s more, the person who gave you the card can later claim that you got hold of it without prior permission (for example, maybe you’ve spent too much or if the relationship between you and them goes sour). They’ll have you prosecuted for identity theft.

Using someone else’s card with proper authorization:

  • Get permission in writing

If using somebody else’s card is the only option available to you (which you are in no way encouraged to do), please get a written and signed note from the cardholder saying you have permission to do so.

  • Get authorized

Another option available is getting authorization from the issuer of the card at the request of the account holder. So, instead of using somebody else’s debit or credit card or lending out your card, the card issuer/bank provides an extra card with the user’s name on it.

Though the account still belongs and remains funded by the account holder who is responsible for payments, the authorized user is allowed to make purchases with the account. And if that user is asked for a means of verification, there would be no cause for alarm.

Using Cards without Authorization

Debit cards are personal financial tools issued to individuals for their private use. It is illegal and unethical to use someone else’s debit card without their consent. It can be considered fraud or identity theft, and it is an infringement on their privacy and financial security.

If you need to make a purchase or transaction, you should make use of your own debit card or other means of payment. But if that is not feasible, you have to seek permission from the owner of the debit card before using it.

Using someone else’s debit card without their approval could damage your reputation and even amount to financial and legal consequences, including criminal charges, fines, penalties, or severe punishments depending on the jurisdiction where it occurred.

You could ask a local attorney to know more about the laws guiding your jurisdiction.

If you somehow got your hands on somebody else’s cards, you’ve suddenly been placed in a dangerous game. It doesn’t matter how you got custody of the cards, whether they were sent to you in error or if you found them on the street, and you never intended to steal them.

Likewise, it also doesn’t matter what you plan to use the cards for. If you can’t prove that you have consent from the appropriate person, you’ve got problems. That means you can’t borrow with an intention to reimburse the cardholder, and you can’t even use the card for advantages that won’t amount to any expenses on the cardholder.

What to Do If Your Debit Card Goes Missing:

Is It Legit to Use Someone Else 's Debit CardReport the problem to your bank/card issuer as soon as possible.

Notifying the card issuer should prevent the damage from escalating, and it optimizes your protection under the law. The longer you wait, the greater liability you’ll face.

Report the unauthorized activity to the police. To support your claim with the card issuer, you may need to file a police report and provide a copy of that report to your issuer.

The person who obtained and used the card may then face criminal charges when apprehended.


In many countries, possessing someone else’s card is illegal, even if you found it on the street or received it by mistake. In addition to potential criminal charges, you may be required to reimburse the account holder and other victims, if any.

Therefore, it is strongly advised not to keep anything that could potentially make you appear as an identity thief or a fraudster. If you come across such cards, it is recommended to turn them into the local police or the bank that issued the card.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button