Stephen Mason

Barrister - Conference Speaker - Author


When Bank Systems Fail
Debit cards, credit cards, ATMs, mobile and online banking: your rights and what to do when things go wrong
(2nd edn, PP Publishing, 2014)

PaalØiestad's credit card was stolen in 2008 in Rome, and over Nok 50,000 taken.The PIN was not written down, because it had been committed to memory. The bank claimed, without any evidence, that he was grossly negligent by keeping the PIN with the card. The Norwegian Complaints Board and the District Court agreed with the bank. MrØiestad was labelled a liar.While waiting for the appeal hearing, thebank wrote to him in June 2012, admitting it was wrong.

The aim of this book is to help you deal with your bank if anything like this should happen to you.



Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 How the ATM system works
Chapter 3 How thieves steal from ATMs and other devices
Chapter 4 The weaknesses of internet banking systems
Chapter 5 The contract with the bank
Chapter 6 Negligence of the bank and the customer
Chapter 7 The legal basis for a claim
Chapter 8 Some problems with evidence
Chapter 9 Handling a dispute in the early stages
Chapter 10 What to do when disputes occur

Appendix 1 Actions you should consider taking immediately where you have a problem with an ATM and PIN or a Point of Sale (PoS) purchase
Appendix 2 Excerpts from the Home Office Counting Rules for fraud and forgery
Appendix 3 Suggested text of a letter to send to the bank before taking legal action
Appendix 4 Sample Particulars of Claim for an internet banking claim
Appendix 5 Sample of a Particulars of Claim for an ATM or Point of Sale (PoS) claim
Appendix 6 Some questions to ask a solicitor before instructing them
Appendix 7 Some questions to ask of the bank if the bank has not provided the information at the disclosure stage of legal proceedings
Appendix 8 Guidance issued to customers on reducing ATM and online banking crime
Appendix 9 Fraud figures
Appendix 10 'Debit cards, ATMs and negligence of the bank and customer' [This article was first published in Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, Volume 27, Number 3, March 2012, 163 – 173]
Appendix 11 'Electronic banking and how courts approach the evidence' [This article was published in the Computer Law and Security Review, Volume 29 Issue 2 (April 2013), 144 – 251] Appendix 12 Further information


Related Material:

From appendix 10:

Independent views on banking

Chip and Spin:

Light Blue Touchpaper:

Phantom Withdrawals:

The Bank Fraud Resource Page, maintained by Professor Ross Anderson:

Academics with web sites of interest

Professor Ross Anderson:

Mike Bond:

Professor Chris Mitchell, Information Security Group, Royal Holloway, University of London:

Dr Steven J. Murdoch:

Richard Clayton:

Saar Drimer:


The submission that Nicholas Bohm and I sent to the Treasury Committee on 17 January 2011 in relation to bank fraud generally is also available from the Parliament web site.

Case law

For case law from across the world, see Electronic Signatures in Law and the Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review.

Exposing the real risks that customers face with ATM fraud: an exam question

I helped to write a question for Advanced GCE mathematics (MEI) Application of Advanced Mathematics (C4) Paper B: Comprehension 4754B (Monday 13 June 2011, morning).


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