It happens to the best of us; you arrive home after a trip to the shops or coffee with a friend and you realise that your credit card is nowhere to be found. Panic sets in and you fear for your funds. You’re not alone though; plenty of credit cards are lost or stolen each year and according to a 2014 survey by Unisys, 62% of New Zealanders are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to their personal information, as well as other people obtaining or using credit their card details.
So – what should you do if your credit card is stolen? Here are a few tips to hopefully protect you from any problems that could result from a lost or stolen card.
- Contact your financial institution straight away. As soon as you become aware of the loss (or theft), phone your bank. Check the website of yoru financial institution; there will usually be a free call number to use to report lost or stolen cards. Your financial institution can cancel the lost card and order you a replacement.
- Check your card’s history for any charges or transactions that you didn’t carry out or authorise; most banks have policies that protect you against identity theft and fraudulent transactions, however some of these policies may depend on you reporting these transactions as soon as possible.
- If you have any recurring charges (gym membership, loans and so forth) coming off the lost card, inform the appropriate institutions of your new credit card details to avoid any fees resulting from incorrect card details or insufficient fund penalties.
- Check your credit rating a month or two after the theft, just to ensure that you haven’t been a victim of identity theft. Checking your credit rating will alert you to any accounts or loans mysteriously opened in your name. Find out details on how to check your credit rating here.
Losing your card can be an initially stressful and worrying experience, however keep in mind that it’s most likely misplaced rather than lost; and if it does turn out to be lost, it’s easy to cancel or temporarily suspend your card to avoid any potential misuse of your card as long as you act promptly.