A few simple steps to help you avoid panic

By Ashley Chorpenning

AAA World Article

Have you ever attempted to use your credit card and discovered it wasn’t in your possession? It probably caused you to panic and assume that your card was either misplaced or stolen. To prevent fraudsters from using your card, it’s important to act fast. Here are a few steps to take if you know your card has been compromised. 

First, make sure to keep calm. Panicking can cause impulsive reactions that may not benefit your future well-being. It’s important to remember that your total liability for a stolen card is capped at $50 per Federal law. Also, many credit card companies have zero-liability policies, which means you won’t be held accountable for purchases that were due to theft. 

You’ll want to act fast to ensure other charges don’t accumulate on your cards. Also noteworthy, additional charges could harm your credit until they are resolved.  

Once you take a deep breath, you’ll want to contact your credit card company about the lost or stolen card. The customer service number should be listed on the back of the card but can also be found with a quick Google search or in the company’s app. If you use your credit card company’s app, you may be able to freeze or lock your card right away. Once you do this, you can then call your credit card company to notify them of the incident. 

The situation may be more extreme for stolen debit cards. According to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), if you notify your debit card company within two days of your card being lost or stolen, you will only be liable for the first $50 in charges. If you miss the two-day window and report the incident within 60 days your liability increases to $500. If you report the incident after 60 days you may be liable for all unauthorized purchases. Therefore, it’s important to act as fast as possible. 

Once you’ve notified your credit card company of your missing card, your issuer will replace the card. While your account won’t be canceled, you’ll have new credit card information. If your credit card is linked to recurring payments, you’ll want to connect your new information. 

Continue to monitor your credit card statements. Notify your credit card company if there are any discrepancies on your statement. Keep an eye out while this issue is resolved. If you notice unauthorized charges added to your account, follow up with the credit card company to ensure everything has been properly resolved.

Also, keep records of any communication you have with your credit card company. Keeping all information handy will help you answer any questions your credit card company or the credit bureaus may have if this incident were to impact your credit score.  

Misplacing your credit card can be a stressful experience. By acting fast, you can avoid the future financial impact of unauthorized purchases. First, take a deep breath and then contact your credit card company. Keep all records of communication and documentation and know a replacement credit card will be on its way shortly.