A lost or stolen debit card is a stressful situation and with good reason. If someone uses that card, money is taken out of your account right away. You must move quickly in order to put this panic behind you before something horrible occurs.
The specifics will be discussed further on, but if you’ve simply misplaced your card, call your bank or card issuer right away to report it. First and foremost, you must freeze or cancel the card so that anyone who finds it is unable to use it.
What to Do If Your Debit Card Is Lost
If you can’t locate your debit card, follow the steps below.
Make an appointment with your bank.
As soon as you find out your card is missing, contact your bank. If you have any doubts regarding the location of your card, you should contact your bank. For instance, perhaps you think you left your wallet in a bar booth. However, you have no way of knowing if that’s where you left it, and you can’t be sure it’s still there because you aren’t at the bar.
Because any uncertainty favors thieves rather than you, it’s important to alert your bank as soon as possible.
If you check your bank statements via a web browser or a phone app on a regular basis, you can contact your bank using that log-in information. Most websites and applications will feature a spot for reporting lost or stolen cards, and some of these services will deactivate a lost card right away. Check your account balance and recent transactions while you’re online to be sure a thief hasn’t already started draining your funds.
If you don’t have contact information, look up your bank’s or card issuer’s website on the internet. Don’t allow your desperation to cloud your judgment, though. Scammers may create fake websites to catch frightened clients who are rushing to contact their bank. Although an online scammer can’t do much about the fact that you’ve misplaced your card, if you start talking to the scammer and give vital information, believing you’re speaking with a legitimate bank official, you may be placing yourself at risk.
Before you call anyone or give out information, make sure the website is safe, has no spelling or grammar mistakes, and has the right URL.
You may be unable to contact your bank in specific circumstances, such as during bank holidays. Card issuers, on the other hand, usually have 24-hour fraud departments or have agreements with service providers who can freeze your card. You should be able to reach someone who can help you freeze your card at any time of day or night.
Request a Card Freeze or Cancellation
Notify your bank or card issuer that you no longer have access to your card and that it has been lost or stolen. You might request a temporary freeze if you merely misplaced the card and believe you will be able to locate it. While you look for the card, it will be frozen, preventing it from working.
This is a good moment to bring up any fraudulent activity you’ve detected on your account.
If your card can’t be frozen (or you’re scared you won’t be able to find it), you’ll need to cancel it and acquire a new one. Although some carriers charge a premium for new cards, getting a new card is usually a quick process.
Automatic Billing Cancellation
Notify any entities that may attempt to charge your card legitimately after it has been disabled. Billers such as your power or internet provider may automatically deduct payments from your card each month, but if you’ve canceled your card, those payments may not go through. To avoid late fines and other difficulties, notify billers ahead of time and offer a backup card number.
In rare situations, if the charges are recognized to be legal, your bank may allow them to go through. Monthly charges that have gone unchallenged for a long time, for example, will not be considered questionable. Still, rather than relying on your bank to determine whether or not a charge is valid, contact your biller ahead of time.
If you’re concerned about someone using your card fraudulently, it’s a good idea to follow up with your card issuer in writing. Send the issuer a letter stating that you do not have the card and would wish to cancel it. Include the current date on the letter, as well as any facts from your phone discussion with the card issuer. You should also request a tracking number from the delivery agency so that you can verify that your letter has been delivered.
The Federal Trade Commission provides some useful information on how to replace lost credit and debit cards.
What Are the Benefits of Reporting a Lost Debit Card?
In the worst-case situation, a burglar may use the card to deplete your bank account. Worse, your bills will continue to arrive despite the fact that your money has been stolen. If a thief drains your account completely, checks will bounce, and you may be unable to make automatic payments or other expenditures. As a result, you may be subjected to late fees, overdraft fees, and other charges.
Scammers may be able to spend more than you have available in your account if you have an overdraft line of credit.
While a thief may attempt to empty your account, you do have several safeguards in place to prevent excessive losses. These safeguards, however, only apply to people who act swiftly when they see anything is amiss.
The bank should freeze or deactivate your card after you notify them that it is missing. There should be no fraudulent charges on your account after that, and any costs from the lost card should be simple to delete.
The Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) limits your losses to $50.1 if charges were made on the card before you recognized them.
If you report the fraud to the bank within two days after losing your card, your losses are limited to $50. If you forget to notify the bank or wait more than two days, your maximum loss will increase to $500. If you do not tell the bank that your card has been lost for longer than 60 days, you may lose loss protection and any cash stolen from you will be lost permanently.
Banks may opt to be more lenient than the law allows, but this is entirely at their discretion.
Consider carrying a credit card instead of a debit card for everyday use to avoid another incident with a lost debit card. Consumer protection on credit cards is usually better than on account-linked debit cards. This allows you to lower your risk without compromising the convenience of using a credit card.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I cancel a debit card charge?
You must contact your bank directly to dispute a transaction on your debit card. It’s possible that their choice will take several days to make. However, this usually only works if you suspect a charge is false. If you just want to halt a payment that you’ve already made, you’ll have to ask the merchant to cancel it or offer a refund.
How do I get rid of my debit card?
It may be possible to cancel your debit card through your online account, depending on the firm with which you have one. Otherwise, you’ll have to contact customer support to have your identification verified and your automobile canceled.