Lost credit card? What to do and how to replace it.

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In a Nutshell

Did you lose your credit card? If you can’t find it, you should lock your card immediately and report the lost credit card to the issuer. The company can send you a replacement card with a new credit card number.
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If you can’t find your lost credit card, you should take action right away.

You may be able to lock or freeze your card through your account while you look for it. But if you can’t find it, you should report it to the credit card company as soon as possible.

When you report the lost credit card, the issuer will most likely cancel your old card number in an effort to prevent any unauthorized charges and then send you a new card with a new number. But it could take a few days for the replacement card to arrive.

Here’s what to do right away if you lose your credit card, as well as what you should know about replacing your lost card.

What to do if you lose your credit card

1. Lock your lost credit card

If you can, you should lock or freeze your lost credit card as soon as you realize it’s missing. It’s possible you simply misplaced it, but there’s also a chance it was stolen. Locking your credit card will buy you time to figure it out.

Many credit card issuers allow you to lock your card from their websites or mobile apps. Companies offering this feature include …

  • American Express
  • Barclays
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • Discover
  • Wells Fargo

Locking your credit card is like hitting the pause button on your television remote — it tells the credit card issuer to temporarily block new purchases without canceling the card until you unlock it. This prevents thieves from making fraudulent purchases.

With some issuers, locking your card won’t interfere with any recurring payments you’ve set up to pay your bills, so you don’t have to worry about missing due dates. But you should confirm this with your issuer so you don’t accidentally miss a payment.

If you find the card, you can unlock it and start using it again right away.

Lost debit card: What to do next

2. Try to track your card and check for unauthorized charges

Unfortunately, a lost credit card probably doesn’t have a tracking signal that will lead you to its exact location.

But you might be able to find it by retracing your steps. It’s possible you left it at a store or restaurant. Checking your recent transactions will show where you made your last purchase, so you can call and ask if someone found your card.

On the other hand, if you come across purchases you don’t recognize, you should immediately report the stolen credit card to the issuer. If you do find any unauthorized charges, here’s what to do.

3. Report your lost card to the issuer

If you can’t find your lost credit card, you should report it to the issuer as soon as possible. Some issuers allow you to report a lost card online. If you’d rather reach out by phone, many credit card issuers have phone numbers you can call whether you’re in the U.S. or traveling abroad. Here are the numbers for some of the major issuers.

Credit card issuer U.S. phone number International phone number
American Express 1-800-992-3404 1-336-393-1111 (call collect)
Bank of America 1-800-732-9194 1-757-677-4701
Barclays 1-866-928-8598 1-302-255-8888 (call collect)
Capital One 1-800-227-4825 1-800-934-2001 (call collect)
Chase 1-800-432-3117 1-302-594-8200
Citi 1-800-950-5114 1-605-335-2222 (call collect)
Discover 1-800-347-2683 1-801-902-3100
PNC 1-800-533-6596 1-877-222-5402
U.S. Bank 1-800-285-8585 1-503-401-9991 (call collect)
Wells Fargo 1-800-869-3557 1-925-825-7600

Request a replacement card

Here’s what to expect when you report a lost credit card and request a replacement from your issuer.

How long does it take to get a replacement credit card?

You may be able to receive your new credit card within a week, but it varies by issuer.

Although your credit card company may provide free next-day shipping, others may charge a fee for the service. And depending on the issuer, it could take a few weeks to receive your replacement card.

How much does it cost to replace a lost credit card?

Many credit card companies will replace your lost credit card for free.

But depending on when you report the loss, you could also be on the hook for a small amount of any fraudulent charges made with your stolen credit card. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you’re responsible for repaying the first $50 in fraudulent credit card charges if your credit card is stolen.

But if you report the card as lost before any unauthorized charges are made, you aren’t responsible for any charges you didn’t authorize. You also won’t have to pay if just your credit card number was stolen — credit card issuers can charge you for the first $50 in unauthorized charges only if your card was physically stolen.

On top of that, some credit card issuers have zero-liability policies and voluntarily waive all unauthorized charges.

Does replacing a lost credit card hurt your credit scores?

As long as your account isn’t closed, reporting a lost or stolen credit card shouldn’t hurt your credit scores.

A replacement card should be considered part of the same credit card account as far as your credit reports are concerned. So even though you’ll likely receive a new card number, it shouldn’t show up as a new account and you shouldn’t be hit with another hard inquiry as you would if you applied for an entirely new card.

But if the account is accidentally closed when you’re requesting a replacement card, that could negatively affect your credit.

If you don’t stay on top of the situation, fraudulent charges made on a stolen credit card could hurt your credit. Unauthorized charges that you don’t catch or report as fraudulent could add up — this could lead to you carrying a balance and paying interest, or increasing your credit utilization (which could hurt your credit). You may be able to resolve these issues later, but they can cause a lot of headache.

What happens to my recurring payments when I get a replacement card?

If you get a replacement card, you’ll need to update your recurring payments with your new card number.

You’ll receive a new card number when you request a replacement card. So automatic bill payments with your old card number will be declined unless you update your payment information.

What’s next?

Losing your credit card can be stressful. Here are a few steps to help you deal with it.

  1. Pay through a mobile wallet or with cash. If you pay with your phone or cash, you won’t need to carry credit cards in your physical wallet as often.
  2. Keep an eye on your monthly credit card statements. If you spot any purchases you didn’t make, report the fraudulent charges to your credit card company immediately.
  3. Only put the cards you need in your wallet or purse. If you have multiple credit cards, store the ones you don’t use very often in a safe place.
  4. Destroy old credit cards. If your credit card company sends you a new card, make sure you cut up the old card that expired.

About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.