Take Action - What to Do if You Lose Your Credit Card

By: Scott Stadler

The chances are good that each and every one of us will lose or have our credit card stolen at least once in our lifetime. When talking about cash, this would be a lose-lose proposition every time. But fortunately, by law, credit cards come with built in protection in just such circumstances. When you know what to do if you lose your credit card, the whole thing is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Here are the steps to take if the inevitable happens to you...

Be Preventative - Okay, before we move forward, let's go back a few steps. Something every one of us should do right now is to write down all of our credit card account numbers and phone contact numbers and file them away in a really safe place in case we should need them at any point later on. Make sure you have a list of every object that's in your purse or wallet, this way if something does happen, it's simple to just go down the list and notify of missing cards one by one without forgetting any of them.

Don't Panic - Even if your credit card does go missing, you might find it untouched (or right where you left it). Retrace your steps and more often than not, the missing items will turn up. And even if someone has found and used your card, you're still protected by law if you take appropriate action in a timely manner.

Assume it's Been Compromised - If you do find your lost credit card or someone else returns it to you, it's best for your own protection to just assume the worst and call the credit card company to cancel it and issue a new one. You never know if someone has already make unauthorized charges with the card or perhaps written the number down for future use. In order to minimize your liability, the only exception to this rule might be if you lost the card in your own home and then found it.

Call the Card Issuer Right Away - Again, this will not only will this prevent any liability for unauthorized charges on your part, but the credit card company will also take action to get a new card to you as fast as possible wherever you might be so you're not left stranded. They understand this happens and are usually very easy to work with in this predicament.

Call the Credit Agencies Too - If you have any concern at all that your credit card has been misused, in addition to calling the credit card issuer, you might also want to touch base with the major credit reporting agencies to let them know of the situation. They'll take action to make sure fraudulent use won't damage your credit history. Better safe than sorry, right?

Knowing what steps to take and what to do in the case of a lost credit card is something we all should probably make ourselves more aware of. By taking these steps immediately, we'll be neutralizing not only any potential liability, but also the hassle factor that comes with prolonging the situation.

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