What Should You Do When You Lose Your Credit Card
Here’s the situation: you’ve lost your credit card. You don’t know whether you’ve misplaced it or, worse, it’s been stolen.
You panic for a bit, but then compose yourself. Multiple questions start flooding your brain: what happens if I lose my credit card? Do I lose my credit score? Can I track my lost card? How long does it take to replace a lost credit card?
Fear not because we’re here to tell you what to do if you lose your credit card.
What happens if you’ve lost your credit card
Losing your credit card is not just inconvenient but also potentially worrying for your online security and privacy. This is because:
- Another person may use it;
- You may be in danger of identity theft; or
- It may affect your credit score.
To prevent any of these from happening to you, the best and first thing to do is to immediately report the missing or stolen credit card to your bank and/or card issuer.
Does losing a credit card affect credit score?
The good news is your credit score remains unaffected and shouldn’t change if your re-issued card has the original tradeline. Make sure your replacement card has the same account details such as your account open date. You also need to keep track of your credit reports on your re-issued card so your credit score won’t change.
You must update any automatic charges (such as electricity bills, gym memberships, etc.) to your new card. You should also report any changes to your card issuer if you encounter any problems with your re-issued card.
How to report a lost credit card
Here’s how you can report a missing credit card:
- Contact your bank and/or your card issuer. Go to your bank’s or card issuer’s official website or check your last billing statement to find the right contact information. You’ll need to provide personal details such as your full name, date of birth, account number, social security number, or the date and amount of your last purchase. It is also advisable to follow-up your report with an official letter to the bank/card issuer stating all of these details.
- Freeze and lock your card. Once you report your missing card, the bank/card issuer will freeze and lock your account, then re-issue you with a new account and card. That’s why it is crucial you report it immediately to avoid any unauthorized payments. It is also wise to review your billing statement for a few months after the card loss to make sure there are no fraudulent charges.
How to track a lost credit card
There is no physical way of tracking your lost or stolen credit card, although you may track the transaction history via your bank app — only before you freeze or lock your account. But, again, it is better to freeze it immediately before anyone has the chance to use it illegally.
What happens after I report my lost credit card?
The bank or card issuer will immediately cancel and freeze your lost or stolen credit card. They will then issue a replacement card to you at some point between 24 hours and ten days after your request.
Investigations for disputes and fraudulent charges will begin and will usually take between 30 and 90 days.
How to report a stolen credit card
Credit card theft is a whole other story and should be dealt with using these steps:
- Contact your bank/card issuer to freeze or lock your account. Just like when losing a card, the first thing to do is to report the theft to the bank to prevent any unauthorized transactions.
- File a police report. It is important to report a theft to the police and proper authorities for legal purposes and documentation. This is not just for your own safety but for the welfare of others as well.
- File an affidavit of loss. This will serve as a legal document to help you with future transactions and any replacement items or goods you might eventually need.
- Dispute any charges made on your card after it was stolen. Last but definitely not least, filing disputes on illegal charges on your account must be made to protect your credit score and money.
How do you dispute fraudulent credit card charges
- Report and file a dispute to the bank/card issuer. You must contact them immediately and report the fraudulent credit charge problem on your account before any unauthorized transactions occur.
- Review your credit reports and gather documents. If there are fraudulent charges, it is best to collect information on these illegal payments, then take them directly to the bank and card issuer for clarification.
- Follow-up on the dispute and review credit reports. It may take between 30 and 90 days for the whole investigation process to be completed so it is advisable to follow-up if you can. It is also important to review your credit reports to check if the dispute has been made accordingly.
Am I responsible for charges on my card after it’s lost or stolen?
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a card holder cannot be held liable for a maximum amount of $50 on any fraudulent charges made per card. Some banks and card issuers carry a no liability rule for as long as the report was done within a certain time frame. This is usually two days after the incident.
Losing a credit card vs. losing a virtual card
Virtual cards are getting traction for the benefits of convenience and protecting consumers from identity theft. Unlike credit cards, virtual cards use different account information to your physical card. You can also easily cancel a virtual card without having to change your entire account or numbers if you lose it. You won’t even have to report your virtual card as stolen.
What else should you do after you lose your card
Are there other things you need to remember to do after losing your credit card? Read some of these tips:
- Double-check you’ve actually lost your card. You may have accidentally misplaced it’s best to make sure you’ve looked everywhere before cancelling it or reporting it missing.
- Call your credit card issuer and authorities if stolen. It is important to inform all of the relevant authorities to help ease the process around reporting and re-issuing a new card.
- Learn about your liability. Getting knowledge on provisions such as the Fair Credit Billing Act helps you understand the situation better. It should mean you spend less time panicking and more focusing on the next steps you need to take.
- Check accounts and remove your card from any online shopping accounts. After making the report and freezing your account, it is still important to be vigilant. Keep looking for any unusual charges and payments made during the period of loss/theft and report them right away. You must also remove any trace of accounts to any existing online shopping accounts linked to your missing/stolen card for extra safety.
- Review all automatic charges and update your recurring payment information. Your utility bills, Netflix and Spotify subscriptions, and other autopay charges are probably still connected to your stolen/missing credit card. It’s best to update and transfer all these recurring transactions with your new/replaced card with the corresponding details.
- Monitor your credit report. It is an extra measure for safety to track your billing statement months after the theft/loss of your credit card. This way you can make sure any illegal charges don’t go unnoticed or undetected. If you spot some, then report these unauthorized payments immediately to your bank/card issuer.
- Prevent future card loss. Keeping this from happening again is the ultimate goal so you can avoid any unwanted stress or worry.
How to prevent the loss of a credit card
Avoiding the long and arduous process of reporting is better than anything so here are some tips to prevent card loss:
- Keep your cards safe and close to you. Having a sturdy wallet with good pockets is a sensible investment for your cards.
- Take a wallet inventory. It’s also good practice to only bring the cards you need with you whenever you go out.
- Download your credit card issuer’s app. With this, you can easily track your payments and expenses. If your card is misused or stolen, you can see the transactions made here.
- Write down and keep your credit card issuer, payment processor, and credit bureau contact information in a secure place.
- Protect your online accounts. If your credit card is connected to several shopping or transactional sites, their security will be compromised once you lose your credit card. You need a security app that can alert you of security breaches and also advise you on healthy browsing practices.
Make sure you have a sophisticated but easy-to-use cybersecurity solution such as Clario to ensure your digital life is safe and secure.
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