A lost or stolen card can cause a lot of anxiety. Fortunately, if it's just one card that's been taken or gone missing, you can deal with the situation rather quickly. Here are some steps you should take if you have a lost or stolen card.
- Report the loss or theft immediately. You should contact the issuer of your card as soon as possible. By law you cannot be held liable for charges made after you've reported your card lost or stolen, so reporting the situation immediately limits your liability. For the sake of immediacy, you should contact your card issuer by phone.
- Follow up in writing. Either mail or email your card provider a confirmation that your card was lost or stolen. By mail, use a certified or return-receipt requested option to confirm that your letter was delivered. Include your account number, when you noticed that the card was missing, and when you first reported the situation. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter or email for your records.
- Update your card information. When you receive your new card, it will have a new number. This means that any future payments scheduled with your old card will no longer work. Items like online accounts and subscription services where your card number was saved will need to be updated.
- Destroy any duplicate cards. You may have multiple cards with the same number. Be sure to destroy any copies of the card in your possession. While once the card has been reported lost or stolen it will no longer be usable, you wouldn't want to accidentally try to use it yourself.
- Be on the lookout for any transactions that you didn't make and report them immediately.
Taking these steps right away will minimize the long-term impact of your lost or stolen card.
If only one card was compromised, the risk that your identity or other accounts will be as a result is relatively small. However, if you are concerned about these possibilities, be sure to read the article "What to Do When Your Wallet is Stolen".
It's also worth noting that if your card is missing but you think you may find it again, you can call the card issuer and have the account frozen in the meantime. That way you don't have to worry about fraudulent transactions while you attempt to locate your card. When it comes to your financial security, it's better to be safe than sorry.