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What to do if your bank card is lost or stolen?

Taking care of our financial instruments is part of this new culture in which it is no longer necessary to carry so much cash. Although there is reason to panic when your credit or debit card is lost or stolen, the most sensible and practical thing is not to do it.

To avoid this horrible feeling, we tell you what the experts recommend to do when this happens.

What to do when your debit card is lost or stolen

When you can’t find your debit card, it can mean 2 things: that you left it somewhere or someone else has it. At this point it is important to establish if you are really lost to take action on the matter. If so, try to act calmly and follow this protocol:

Check your account

When you are certain that your plastic will not appear, you must first log into your account to check that there is nothing unusual in the last movements.

In the event that there is an unauthorized or fraudulent operation, we suggest you write down the date, place, amount and the trade in question. It does not matter if the quantity is small, as it may be a test.

Contact your bank

The next step is to notify the institution that gave you the plastic. It is important to let them know by phone or via the Internet if your debit card was lost or stolen.

If you notice that there is an unauthorized movement, be sure to report it in great detail. Keep in mind that if you are in another country, the call will be collect.

Cancel or block the card

If you think you will find the card somewhere, you can ask the bank to temporarily freeze it (block). This action serves to deactivate it for a few days while you try to remember where it could be.

In case of absolute loss or theft, you will have to cancel it so they can send you a new one, which can be free or with its respective commission, depending on your financial institution.

Eliminate direct debits

Once you proceed to request a new plastic, you must notify the companies that make you automatic charges. Let them know that your debit card has been canceled and they won’t be able to process payments as usual.

You can speak with the designated representative to offer another payment alternative and thus avoid the suspension of a service or the collection of any commission.

Follow up

According to the CFPB, the issuer of the plastic has 10 business days to investigate any fraudulent charges and 3 more to notify you. The way to follow up is by letter, mail or private message.

It is a good opportunity to do a formal claim for unauthorized operations to get the money back. Always have a copy of your records and claims.

What to do if your credit card is lost or stolen?

For credit cards, the procedure is very similar because they are banking products that use the same kind of payment processing. However, you have to act diligently to avoid losing more than you should. The steps to follow are:

Contact the issuer

If you cannot find your credit card, you should call or write as soon as possible to the entity where you hired it. This is because federal laws limit your liability to $ 50 USD for unauthorized charges.

When you report that your card was stolen or lost before a fraudulent operation occurs, you do not assume any responsibility.

Complete the process and control damage

The issuer will need to verify your identity through information such as: name, address and social security number. They will also want to know when you lost the plastic and the last charge you made.

Once the fact is confirmed, they will cancel the card and send you another one. This does not affect your score credit, but you will have to cancel automatic payments to avoid further problems.

Check your coverage

There are some built-in policies and insurance They take care of the responsibility if your credit card is stolen. That is why it is worth checking if the coverage can take care of the possible $ 50 charge.

Although many banks offer “Zero Liability“When this is not the case, you should consider some type of insurance for these situations.

Tips to avoid loss or theft of cards

Since there are many ways to lose or have a credit or debit card stolen, applying some measures to prevent this occurrence can help. Therefore, we advise you:

  • Carry only the plastics you need.
  • Never give the TDC number on the phone if you didn’t make the call.
  • Have a record of the current ones and keep well or cut those that are expired.
  • Check your statements regularly for unauthorized charges.
  • Have the telephone numbers of the banks written down for these situations.



Hispanic entrepreneur with a degree in business administration and experience working in the United States. My passion for business and entrepreneurship led me to launch my own blog where I share information and resources to help other Hispanic entrepreneurs achieve success in their businesses.

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