Lost Credit Card? Do These 3 Things

Recently a friend called me, freaked out because she had lost one of her credit cards. That inspired me to write this post/guide.

#1. Don’t panic. Here’s why.

I remember when my grandmother lost hers, she envisioned the worst, “I lost my credit card. Thousands of dollars might have been stolen from me!” she yammered. In actuality, she (nor you!) have much to worry about, thanks to the protection you’re entitled to.

  • If the physical card is stolen and fraudulently used, your maximum liability is only $50 no matter how much is charged. This is federal law per the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z).
  • Almost every credit card issuer will waive the $50 liability cap and give you zero liability, so you won’t owe a dime.
  • If your physical card is NOT stolen but your account numbers are fraudulently used, then Regulation Z protects you with $0 liability.

In a nutshell, the worst case scenario is $50. However since just about any reputable card issuer waives that $50, you most likely will owe absolutely nothing.

#2. Contact your credit card issuer

The age-old advice of “Call the number on the back of your card” isn’t very helpful when you have a lost credit card, right?! For that reason, I’ve compiled the phone numbers for some of the largest card issuers in the US, as well as some shortcuts so you can report a lost credit card faster.

  • American Express has a dedicated line for reporting lost cards at 1-877-227-0956.
  • Bank of America is 1-800-732-9194, when prompted for account number enter your SSN and press #.
  • Capital One wants you to call the general customer service at 1-800-955-7070. Nightmare prompt that keeps asking for account number. I just kept pressing 0 followed by # a few times and it eventually connected me.
  • Chase card member services is 1-800-432-3117. Press 1, then 1 again.
  • Citi credit cards is 1-800-950-5114. Same setup as Capital One, so repeat the above if you don’t have your account number available
  • Discover ask that you call their main line at 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683). No buttons to press!
  • KeyBank can be reached at 1-800-539-2968 (press #, then 2)
  • PNC Bank has a real easy number to remember: 1-888-PNC-BANK. Follow the voice prompts.
  • Sun Trust is 1-800-786-8787 and select option 6
  • US Bank is 1-800-285-8585. When prompted for your account number, say “lost credit card” to bypass the bologna.
  • USAA credit cards, debit and ATM can all be reported at 1-800-531-USAA (8722). Press 1, then say your SSN.
  • Wells Fargo is 1-800-642-4720. Press 0 followed by #, then say “lost card.”

Don’t see your bank issuer listed? Then go directly to the bank’s website and hunt down a phone number. If you can’t find a dedicated line for reporting lost and stolen cards, then just call their general number and they should be able to transfer you accordingly (hopefully you won’t have to press too many numbers).

Have a store card? Odds are it’s issued by WFNNB or GE Money (the 2 largest issuers of store cards). Go to the store’s website and you should be able to find a phone number for credit card support and/or the issuer.

Even though your liability is minimal as mentioned at the start, you still want to report your account ASAP. Why? Because for fraudulent purchases made after you report your card lost or stolen, the law says you have a $0 liability (not the $50).

#3. Sit back and relax

Yes that’s right… I’m telling you to calm down. We’ve already gone over the fact that you probably won’t owe anything, so why stress out over it? Remember the only thing printed on your credit card is your name, so it’s not like the criminal is getting your sensitive and personal information (that is, assuming you didn’t lose your driver’s license or Social Security card, too!)

If you have bills which were automatically charged to the lost card, you will have to update them and use a different credit card – or – wait for your replacement card to come with the new account number and re-enroll it. Either way, nothing to fret about. But just make sure you do it before the bills will be charged to the card.

Written or last updated October 2011

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Thanks so much for this- the lost my card and the guide of what buttons to press definitely saved a bit of time in a stressful moment 🙂

My dad taught all us kids to make copies front/back and save to PDF file. I even did that with passport docs and have those items stored to cloud account.

Comes in handy when your away and lose things like that.

Smart idea! Just make sure that cloud account is safe. Another recommendation for sensitive info like credit cards is to get an encrypted flash drive to store your info on. That way even if it’s compromised, you don’t have to worry about it (assuming the encryption lives up to the promise).