4 Things to Do if Your Credit or Debit Card is Lost

Reading time: 3 minutes

Highlights:

  • If you can't find your credit or debit card, notify the card issuer as soon as possible
  • Remember to update any recurring payments if your card is replaced
  • Check your future statements and your credit reports for activity you don't recognize

If you've misplaced your credit or debit card, you may be worried about the possibility of fraudulent charges. Here are four things you can do immediately:

1. Notify the card issuer  

One of the first things you should do is contact the card issuer – the bank or financial institution that issued your credit or debit card -- about the situation. Be sure to note the date and time you noticed the card was missing.

If you don’t have the company’s phone number, you can find it on your billing statement or online.

2. If possible, lock or temporarily disable your lost credit card  

A growing number of credit and debit card issuers are introducing features that allow users to lock credit card access. This will give you time to keep looking if you aren’t quite sure whether you have a lost credit card or simply a misplaced one. Call your bank or financial institution to learn your options to pause or lock a credit card.

If you're sure the card is gone, or if you don't have the option to lock or temporarily disable it, the card issuer will cancel your old card and issue you a new one. It may take a few days for your new card to arrive by mail. If you need it sooner, some companies may be able to expedite the delivery. In the cases where your bank has physical locations, you may be able to get a replacement or a temporary card right away by visiting your nearest branch. Make sure to go over your recent card transactions with a customer service representative.

3. Think about recurring transactions 

If you’ve replaced your credit or debit card, be sure to contact businesses you have recurring transactions with to avoid missing any payments. Some recurring payments may still be honored on the lost credit card even if it is replaced, but it’s always worth checking with your bank or financial institution to make sure.  

4. Check your future statements and your credit reports

For the next few months, closely examine your billing statements for any unauthorized purchases. If you find any, report those to your card issuer. 

You might also want to consider checking your credit reports for any activity you don’t recognize, such as new accounts that are not yours. If anything suspicious comes up, you can contact the lender or creditor to straighten out the matter, or contact the two nationwide credit bureaus to dispute the information. Visit our dispute site to file a dispute with Equifax.

Finally, it’s important to know that you have rights. Canadian law limits your maximum liability to $50 when an unauthorized transaction is made with your lost credit card. 

For debit cards, the maximum amount of your liability usually can’t be more than your debit card transaction withdrawal limits or the amount you have in your bank account. In some situations, you may be liable for more than the amount in your bank account if your account has a line of credit or overdraft protection, or if your account is linked with another account. Your debit card issuer can let you know its policy concerning debit cards. 

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has more information about lost or stolen credit or debit cards and unauthorized transactions.

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