Lose your credit card? What to Do With a Lost Credit Card?

What do you do if you lose your credit card?

Lose Your Credit Card? What to Do?

Part of a credit card’s charm is the small, slender, and compact size. However, this also makes it very easy for you to lose your credit card. When you notice that it’s gone, you experience a high level of panic.

This is very common because most people don’t carry extra cash with them. They use their credit card for everyday purchases. If you lose your credit card, there are several things you want to do. This can help to ensure that you get your card back with minimal fuss.

What To Do If You Lose Your Credit Card

Your first instinct may be to panic when you lose your credit card. However, this is one of the worst things that you can do. Federal laws are in place to protect how liable you are for a lost or stolen credit card. It caps at $50. Also, your credit card company could have zero-liability policies in place. Even if you don’t find your card, you most likely won’t lose much.

Take a Second Look

Perhaps you simply misplaced your card at home. If it’s not in the usual spot, you may automatically think it’s lost. The last thing that you want to do is report it as lost and find it a few hours later. Go through your purse or wallet calmly and methodically. Look in every card slot, pocket, or compartment. Take everything out of your purse or wallet as well. Make sure to check through your coat pockets as well and around your home and car.

Check Your Account

Monitoring and checking your account can give you a good idea on where you used your card last. Log into your account and see the time and place you made your last purchase. You can then call this place and see if someone turned a credit card in. If they did, you could go get it without having to get a replacement. It’s also a good way to monitor for fraudulent purchases after you get it back.

Call Your Card Issuer

If you’re sure you lost your credit card, contact your card issuer. You should only do this after you’ve searched everywhere in your home and car for it. Once you contact the card issuer, they’ll deactivate the card. They’ll send out a replacement card in the mail very quickly. This replacement card will minimize the risk of experiencing credit card fraud.

If you have a Discover account, you can freeze your card and temporarily deactivate it until you find it. Great news! Now American Express starting this month of August 2019 offers this same credit card account freezing option. You can now freeze both your Discover and American Express Card accounts. Maybe you can freeze your Visa and MasterCards in the same way? This could depend on each individual credit card company. Before losing your credit card you can call each credit card company and see if there is a freeze option.

A lost debit card is a slightly more complicated story. You have a two-day window to report the debit card lost to keep the $50 liability cap. If you miss this window, you have 60 days to report it lost. However, your liability cap goes up to $500 for unauthorized purchases. Anything beyond 60 days can mean that you pay all of the unauthorized purchases. Prepaid cards also work similarly. Learn more with this prepaid card guide to see how much you are left liable for.

What To Do After You Lose Your Credit Card and Get A New Card Issued

Update Your Account Numbers

When you get your new card, you may have to update your card numbers. This will help to ensure that your automatic payments still go through. The last thing that you want to do is take a hit on your credit score because your payment stopped. Go through your account and make sure that all of the card numbers match.

Ways to Avoid Problems Going Forward

Once you lose your credit card, you don’t want to repeat this mistake. Not only is it stressful, but it’s also inconvenient when you have to wait on the replacement card.

Keep the Issuer’s Number on Hand

Your card issuer’s phone number is on your credit card. If you lose your credit card, you could scramble to find it. Program the number into your phone or put it in your address book. You want to have it somewhere that is easy to remember and reach. When you’re panicking, you may not think straight. Being able to contact your issuer will remove a lot of stress from the process.

Quick emergency list of common credit card company phone numbers to report if your credit card is lost or stolen:

American Express: 1-800-528-4800 – Amex International Collect: 336-393-1111
Capital One: 1-800-CAPITAL (227-4825) – Capital One International Collect: 804-934-2001
CitiBank: 1-855-473-4583 – Citi Card International Collect: 904-954-1202
Discover Card: 1-800-347-3085 – Discover International Collect: 801-344-1000
First National Bank: 1-888-530-3626 – 1st National Bank International Collect: 402-346-1553

Have a Backup Payment Method

You may rely on your credit card for everything. But, if you lose your credit card, you don’t want to get stuck with no money. Have a backup payment method in place. Do you have an emergency fund? Whether this is a small stash of cash, an additional credit card, or a debit card, they all work. This will help to tide you over until you find your card or get a replacement in the mail.

Bottom Line

When you lose your credit card, it can be panic-inducing. However, there are steps that you can take to minimize the damage. Start by taking a deep breath and calming down. If you can’t locate your card, contact the card issuer. They’ll help to sort out any unauthorized activity. They’ll also get your replacement card on the way. You’ll get your new card in the mail, and get back to your life.

Monica Kowollik

Director at CreditFast.com
Monica has covered credit card and personal finance news for over 15 years. From an early age, she developed an interest in financial literacy and saving money. Monica hopes to help others to improve their personal finances one article at a time.