What to Do If You Lost Your Credit Card: Everything You Need to Know

When you lose your credit card, the first thing you should do is call your credit card issuer to report it as missing. Doing this protects your finances and identity, and ensures that if anyone finds your card , they’ll be unable to use it. In this article, we’ll show you what to do when you lose your credit card at home or abroad. Additionally, we’ll tell you best practices for what to do should you find a credit card that belongs to someone else.

What To Do If You Lose Your Credit Card

Call your credit card company as soon as you realize you’ve lost your card. When you call, be prepared to provide your billing address or social security number, so the bank can verify your identity and confirm your last known transaction. The bank will then deactivate your old card and mail you a new credit card with a new account number. This replacement process doesn’t shut down your credit card account, so there will be no impact on your credit history.

Here’s a list of phone numbers for common U.S. credit card issuers. It’s a good idea to write down the relevant ones for your card and keep them with you at all times. If your issuer isn’t on this list, you can find information on how to report your card as lost or stolen on the bank’s website.

Bank

Phone Number
American Express1-800-992-3404
Bank of America1-800-732-9194
Barclays1-877-523-0478
Capital One1-800-955-7070
Chase1-800-432-3117
Citibank1-800-950-5114
Discover1-800-347-2683
PNC1-800-558-8472
USAA1-800-531-8722
U.S. Bank1-800-285-8585
Wells Fargo1-800-642-4720

Since the replacement process takes time and effort, some banks let you freeze your credit card, say until you find it somewhere the house or can return to a bar or restaurant here you suspect you misplaced it. However, if you see fraudulent charges on credit card or think you won't find it within 24 hours, call the card issuer as soon as possible. You might be able to place the freeze online or in a mobile app. For example, Discover Card has a feature called “Freeze It” that lets you freeze your credit card account at will in the Discover app.

What To Do If You Lose Your Credit Card Abroad

The process for reporting a card lost or stolen is slightly different when you’re traveling outside the United States. Banks usually have a different number for you to call, and may offer you additional protections and benefits such as expedited shipping of the card to your hotel.

Here’s a list of international call collect phone numbers for common US credit card issuers. Write down your bank’s international number before your trip, so you’re protected in the event that you lose your card while abroad.

Bank

Phone Number
American Express1-336-393-1111
Bank of America1-757-677-4701
Capital One1-804-934-2001
Chase1-302-594-8200
CitiBank1-605-335-2222
Discover1-801-902-3100
PNC1-412-803-7787
Wells Fargo1-925-825-7600

As we noted earlier, some banks have special protections for lost credit cards abroad. For example, MasterCard Global Service will expedite a replacement card to your hotel and provide you with an emergency cash advance if needed. Call your bank before your next trip abroad to get additional information on which protections are available to you where you’re going.

Finally, make sure to carry some emergency local currency and an additional credit card when traveling abroad. This can save you a huge headache, as you’ll have an immediate backup plan for purchases should you lose your card. For additional safety, store your backup card separately from your main card to protect you in the event of a pickpocket or other theft.

What Happens When You Report Your Card As Lost

When you lose a credit card and report it to your bank, they’ll deactivate your card and give you a new credit card number to prevent fraudulent use of your account. Make sure to update recurring payments like utility bills and online subscriptions with your new card number to ensure services continue without interruption. You may need to notify your authorized users, as well, as some banks will reissue their cards, too, with new numbers.

Be sure to check your credit card statement regularly after losing your card to check for fraudulent purchases. If you see purchases you didn’t make, call your bank right away to report them.

Don’t fret too much if someone uses your lost credit card before you report it missing. Provided you inform your bank of the card’s loss within 48 hours, he Truth in Lending Act states that you’re liable for no more than $50 in fraudulent charges. If you wait longer than 48 hours, you may be liable for up to $500 in fraudulent charges; if you delay by a full sixty days, you can be held liable for all charges made on the card.

However, most major banks have a $0 liability policy for unauthorized charges. Generally, this means that if you report unauthorized charges to the issuers in a timely manner, you’re not liable for any unauthorized use of your card. Banks that employ this policy include (but are not limited to):

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Discover
  • PNC
  • USAA
  • US Bank
  • Wells Fargo

What to do if You Find a Lost Credit Card

If you find a credit card with a stranger’s name, the best thing to do is to call the customer-service number listed on the back of the card. Let the representative know that the card isn’t yours, and provide the approximate location at which you found it. They’ll then shut down the card, notify the account holder that the card is closed, and mail them a new credit card.

Never attempt to use a credit card that isn’t yours. Doing so without the account holder's permission is considered to be fraudulent use. Punishment for using a credit card with “fraudulent intent” varies by state, but is generally categorized as a felony if you spend over $1,000 on the account. In the state of California, this crime carries up to three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

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