Your credit card is one of the most valuable items in your wallet, so you may feel frantic if it’s lost or stolen. However, unlike some other types of property, your credit card is protected by federal law. It might be difficult to replace it, but if you act quickly, you can minimize the damage.
If your credit card is lost or stolen, here are the steps you should take.
1. Don’t Panic
If your card was stolen, you shouldn’t panic. If an unauthorized charge is made on your stolen credit card, federal law limits your liability. According to the Fair Credit Billing Act, your maximum liability for unauthorized charges is $50. The amount drops to $0 if the charges occur after you report your card stolen, or if it’s your credit card number that has been compromised instead of the physical card.
Some credit card companies go even further and waive even that $50 liability. Nevertheless, you should report your card as soon as possible if it has been lost or stolen.
2. Contact Your Credit Card Company ASAP
Don’t even wait five minutes to contact your credit card company if you realize your card is missing or stolen. For your company’s phone number, you’ll need to check your last credit card statement or look on the back of your credit card. Depending on your credit card company, you may be able to report your card missing or stolen online.
Your credit card company should have your account number, the date you noticed your card was missing, the details of your last purchase, and any unauthorized charges you may have noticed.
Your card provider can deactivate your existing card, issue you a new one, and start dealing with unauthorized charges faster if you contact them right away.
3. Watch for Unauthorized Charges
The moment you realize your card is missing, you’ll need to check your account for unauthorized charges and report them to your credit card company. In addition, you should watch your following statements closely to catch any unauthorized charges you may have missed or that took a while to clear your account. If you do find any fraudulent charges, you should report them to your credit card company immediately.
Always keep your credit cards safe. You should always know where your cards are, keep them in a safe location, and protect your card number. If your physical card or credit card number goes missing, or is stolen, acting quickly will minimize your financial responsibility and reduce the amount of unauthorized charges that could appear on your credit card.
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