Lose your credit card? Here’s what to do next

Co-author: Michelle Norton

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.

With the festive season around the corner, many New Zealanders will be preparing for a holiday – whether it’s within the country, or further abroad. Regardless of where you end up, all that sightseeing and adventuring leaves ample opportunity to leave behind a credit card or wallet.

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 credit card.

Four steps to take if you lose your credit card

woman can't find her credit card

Image: Shutterstock: By Tatiana Chekryzhova 

1.Contact your financial institution straight away. As soon as you become aware of the loss (or theft), phone your bank. Check your financial institution’s website; there is usually a toll-free number, to report lost or stolen cards. Your financial institution can cancel the lost card and order you a replacement.

2. 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. But be aware, some of these policies may depend on you reporting these transactions as soon as possible.

3.If you have any recurring charges (gym membership, loans and so forth) coming off the lost card, give the providers your new card details. It’s important that these institutions have your new credit card details, so so you can avoid any fees, such as penalties from having insufiicient funds to make regular payments.

4. 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.

Keep calm and keep looking for your credit card

Losing your credit card can be an initially stressful and worrying experience. However, keep in mind that it’s most likely misplaced rather than lost.  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.

Is it time for a new credit card altogether?

Just like any financial product, it’s a good idea to regularly review whether your current product and provider are working for you. You might find that as your lifestyle and budget changes, you’d rather a card that earns you flight rewards. On the other hand, if you find you’re only making the minimum repayments, a low rate credit card could work better for you. Once you’ve found your misplaced credit card – or resigned to the fact that it’s gone forever and so have cancelled it – have a think about whether the credit card type was working for you in the first place. As our festive gift to you, use our free comparison tools to help you make a decision (a little secret, though, the comparison tools are free all-year-round!).

Compare credit cards with Canstar

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