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How to report a stolen credit card

Know which steps to take to protect your hard-earned money.

Updated

Fact checked

Maybe you could’ve been more careful with your card or maybe you are the victim of professional thieves. Regardless, if your credit card is lost or stolen, there are a few easy steps you can take to get your finances back in your hands.

How to report a lost or stolen credit card to your bank

As soon as you discover that your credit card is missing, act immediately. It pays to be quick in such situations because if someone possesses your card they may use it at any moment.

  1. Call your card issuer.
    You can find your card issuer’s number online and on your monthly statement. Call as soon as reasonably possible.
  2. Ready your information.
    Before your card issuer can act, they need to verify your identity. This often includes your name address and Social Security number.
  3. Monitor your credit card statement.
    After you lose your card, make sure to keep an eye on your card statement. If you notice a charge you didn’t make, notify your card issuer.

NOTE:

Some credit cards let you freeze and unfreeze your card through your mobile phone or online account. If your card comes with this feature, make sure to use it.

How to find out if a credit card is stolen

Watch your card statement. If you find transactions that neither you or your family made, then your information is probably compromised.

Remember, your card doesn’t have to be physically missing to be stolen. Hackers can steal your identity by using card skimming devices on an ATM, or they could copy your card’s info and use it to make unauthorized purchases.

What happens if my card has already been fraudulently used?

Fortunately, your card will be frozen or canceled the moment you report the theft. Even better, most major credit cards have their own version of fraud protection, such as Visa’s and Mastercard’s Zero Liability protection. This means that you will not be held liable for those fraudulent transactions as long as some conditions are fulfilled.

  • Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection
    This feature relieves you of liability, provided that you’ve shown that you took care to protect your card from the loss, theft or unauthorized use, and notified your financial institution immediately after discovering that your card was missing.
  • Visa’s Zero Liability Policy
    Visa’s Zero Liability Policy similarly protects you from fraud, except it does not apply to transactions that were not processed by Visa. Certain commercial card transactions are also not covered by the policy.

Consult your card issuer about whether you are covered in your particular circumstances. An investigation will usually be required and may take up to a few weeks, during which time you may be offered a card replacement.

What to do if you find a credit card

We’ve given you a few tips on what to do if you lose your credit card, but what if you find someone else’s card? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Take the card to store management. If you found the credit card at a store, you might take it to a manager or other supervisor for safekeeping. If the cardholder returns, they’ll likely check with employees on its whereabouts first.
  • Call the issuing bank. If you didn’t find the credit card in a store, try calling the bank associated with the credit card. You can usually find this number on the back of the card. The bank can then contact the cardholder.
  • Destroy the card. This is a simple solution that can keep the cardholder’s card information safe until they properly cancel the card.

Mistakes to avoid when reporting a lost or stolen credit card

  • Procrastination.
    This is a big one when it comes to reporting the theft or loss of a card. A minute can make all the difference between dodging a bullet and letting that thief successfully swipe your card. On top of that, you shouldn’t give your card issuer any grounds to accuse you of negligence. Be prepared to dispute any credit charges on your statement if you feel you’re not in the wrong.
  • Negligence.
    Negligence can disqualify you from receiving fraud protection, but the onus remains on your card provider to prove that you were negligent. This is usually unlikely, but if the thief had been able to withdraw money using your card because you’d done something silly like write your PIN on it, chances are you’re going to be liable for that loss.
  • Administration in the aftermath.
    Depending on your card issuer and card policy, a fraud investigation may result in your account being frozen for the period. If this should happen, be sure to make the necessary arrangements in the interim. If you have automatically scheduled payments on this card, take care to make alternative arrangements for paying your bills to avoid late fees or penalties.

Compare credit cards

After you find a credit card that’s right for you, be sure to check its security features if it has fraud protection and what terms you must meet to take advantage of those protections.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0
Get 3% cash back on groceries on up to $6,000 annually (then 1%) with no annual fee. This is a simple and effective rewards card. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
N/A
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
$0
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $300. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Losing your card can be stressful. To avoid experiencing this sort of anxiety again in future, make sure to do whatever it takes to keep your belongings safe, be it deploying lock and key or having your wallet chained to you at all times. Prevention is key, so stay vigilant and know how your credit card security works.

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