As much as we might like to think nothing bad will ever happen, that can be out of our control at times. Maybe you left your credit card at the bar, or perhaps you dropped it in the back of a cab. Things happen, but the good news is there’s no need to panic.
If you act relatively quickly, chances are high that you will have little to worry about. Here, we’ll outline the steps to take if you lose your credit card. We’ll also cover what to expect in the days and weeks ahead.
Take Action Right Away
Perhaps the most important thing to do if you lose your credit card is to take action immediately. If you have a good idea where you might have left your card, you can start by checking there. For instance, if you started a tab at a bar but forgot to retrieve your card before leaving, you can go back and ask whether they have your card.
But, if you can’t physically recover your credit card, call the card issuer no more than two business days after losing it. If you don’t know where it is, there’s a chance it could end up in the wrong hands. The more time that passes, the greater the chances of unauthorized charges or identity theft. Don’t wait to call if you can’t find your card; take action right away.
Prevent Unauthorized Charges and Identity Theft
When you lose your credit card, the best outcome is recovering it quickly. However, there may come a time when you can’t find your card easily, requiring further action. Chances are that when you call your card issuer, it will take steps to protect your account, like closing the lost card and sending you a new one.
But there are some additional steps you might want to take, depending on how long it has been since you lost the card. For example, if it has been a week or longer, the odds of unauthorized charges or theft will be higher. Start by checking your credit card statements to see whether there are any charges you don’t recognize.
If there are any unauthorized charges, call your card issuer right away. It’s also possible that your login credentials for your account have been compromised. Consider changing your login credentials as soon as possible to prevent any unauthorized access. Use a strong and unique password and consider enabling two-factor authentication for added security.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, you can request a credit freeze. This will prevent identity thieves from opening accounts or applying for credit in your name. You also might want to file a police report. This will help create a record of the theft, and your card issuer might require it as part of the dispute process for any unauthorized charges.
Replace Your Lost Card
When your card is lost, you might have to order a new one to replace it. New cards can take 7-10 business days to arrive, so make alternate arrangements if you usually rely on the card you have lost. Even after you request a replacement card, there are a few things you might have to do.
For instance, you might have automatic payments set up with the card that is lost. If so, update them with the new card details. If you have any payments that will process in the next few days, you might want to temporarily switch them to an alternate payment method. This will ensure you don’t miss any payments or subscriptions while waiting for your new card.
Protect Yourself From Future Losses
Losing a credit card could make you feel embarrassed or even ashamed, but it’s best not to let those feelings linger. Instead, take this as an opportunity to protect yourself. Take these steps to help prevent losing credit cards in the future:
- Store cards safely: Always keep credit cards in a safe place where no one can easily access them. If you keep them in an old wallet that doesn’t secure them well, consider replacing it.
- Do not share your card number or PIN: Avoid sharing your card number or PIN with others. You might sometimes have to share your card number when making purchases, but don’t share it with anyone unless they absolutely need it.
- Use contactless and digital wallet options: The best options for keeping your credit cards safe are contactless and digital wallets. These often let you make purchases without sharing your card number with merchants.
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