Lost or stolen credit cards can cause a ton of headaches, especially if your card gets into the wrong hands.
From possible identity theft to racking up untold amounts of money under your name, a lost credit card can wreak havoc on your life.
Thankfully, there are some things you can and should do as soon as you realize your credit card is missing. Read on to learn how to handle a lost credit card so you can be prepared if it happens to you.
Notify the Card Issuer Immediately
It’s absolutely imperative that you call your card issuer as soon as you realize your card is missing. You can usually find their main contact number on a statement or online where you can report a missing or stolen card. If you can’t find the phone number, you may be able to visit a local branch if your card is issued by a bank near you.
No matter what, you must notify the issuer as soon as the card is missing so they can “turn it off” and prevent someone from using it any further. The sooner you notify them, the more the damage will be minimized.
Once you report the card missing, you will not be liable for any unauthorized charges, so make this step your first priority so you’re not left holding the bag for someone else’s charges on your card.
Be aware that the card issuer may ask you when the card was lost and when your last charge was as well as how much it was for. Make sure you know this information before you call so they can verify your identity. In most cases, your account will be canceled and you’ll be mailed a new card with a brand-new account number.
The good news is that a lost credit card should not affect your credit score. However, you need to update all of your accounts you pay with the card and add the new account number as soon as you receive it to avoid missed payments or late charges.
Follow Up On Your Lost Credit Card
Not all lost credit cards result in tons of excess charges by a stranger. But if you were victim of this problem, it’s a good idea to follow up with your card issuer to make sure that you’re not liable for these charges.
Keep a record of when you talk to the card issuer, what was said, and the date and time. Make sure you follow up if anything looks suspicious on your statement or credit report.
Hold onto any correspondence you receive from the card issuer. This includes emails, letters, and any other records you get so you’ll have everything on file in case you need to refer to it later. If anything stands out on your statement or credit report, you should contact the card issuer immediately.
It’s not required, but you may also file a police report if someone made unauthorized charges to your credit card. The report could help you in the future if the issuer still tries to hold you liable, and may help law enforcement catch the thief, too.
Steps to Prevent Lost Credit Cards
Losing your credit card might send you into a state of panic, but there’s no need to worry. Be calm, and make sure you notify the issuer as soon as you can so they can take care of everything on their hand.
Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to prevent losing your credit card in the future. First, don’t carry a ton of cards with you wherever you go. Take only the card you plan to use instead, which will minimize the chances of losing other cards in the process.
If you have old credit cards at home, cut them up before you toss them to prevent potential thieves from getting their hands on them. Always keep your credit cards in a wallet or purse and never casually throw them in your pants or shirt pocket when you’re out and about. That’s a surefire way to lose a card, especially when you’re having fun and not thinking about it.
Consider turning cards off that you don’t use very often. This is a newer feature that many issuers provide and it only takes a few seconds to do through your account portal online. It won’t cancel your account but will temporarily turn off access in case the card does get lost or stolen.
Never give your credit card number out over the phone unless you’re absolutely certain you’re giving it to a trusted source and that you did so voluntarily. Keep all the cards you don’t use in a single, secure place so you always know where they are at any given moment.
Handling a Lost Credit Card
With these simple steps, you can prevent complete chaos from happening if you end up with a lost credit card. Always notify your card issuer immediately so they can cut off the account and send you a new card with a new number.
Follow a few easy tips to make sure that your credit card is always in a safe place, and turn it off if you’re not using it whenever you can. Make sure you follow up if your card gets lost to be sure that there’s no extra unauthorized charges and keep an eye on your credit report in case there are any changes.
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