lose your credit cardOne second your credit card is in your wallet, then the next second it’s gone. It can be easy to misplace your credit card, and finding out that it’s suddenly missing can be equal parts frustrating and panic-inducing. Lucky for you, we’re detailing everything you need to do if you ever misplace or lose your card. Keep reading to learn what you should do if you lose your credit card.

Know your rights

Before undertaking the necessary measures, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the legal protections surrounding lost credit cards, as these impact your liability and responsibilities as a consumer in the event someone else uses it. To start, it’s good to know about the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) because it reduces your liability when it comes to unauthorized use of your credit card — though the resulting liability depends on when your credit card loss is reported. Thankfully, if you’re able to report the accident before your card is used in an unauthorized way, you won’t be charged for the illicit transactions. On the other hand, if you don’t report the loss before fraudulent charges are made, your maximum liability for them amounts to $50. That said, many credit card issuers and networks offer zero liability, which reduces your liability from $50 to $0. Bottom line, you can rest easy knowing that your credit card comes with the most fraud protection, especially when it’s compared to debit cards or cash.

What to do if you lose your credit card

Now that you know about the legal protections in place, let’s get into what steps you should immediately take after discovering that you’ve lost your credit card.

Report the loss or theft to your credit card issuer

If you lost a Discover card or Citi (a NextAdvisor advertiser) card, you’re in luck. That’s because these cards come with features (Discover’s Freeze it and Citi’s Quick Lock, respectively) that allow you to temporarily lock your account through your computer or smartphone, enabling you to prevent new purchases and cash advances from going through. These features come in handy when you lose your credit card, as they allow you to take quick preventative action without having to deal with the woes of a canceled card that ended up being stuck inside a pants pocket or was found and returned quickly after you lost it.

That said, it’s important to report your missing or stolen card to your credit card issuer as soon as possible. Since Discover and Citi’s features are meant to help you take immediate action, locking your card is not intended to replace reporting the card as stolen to your issuer. As such, you’ll want to contact your credit card issuer to report the card as lost or stolen. By doing so, you can increase your chances of reporting the loss before unauthorized charges are made to your account, which allows you to minimize your liability and how much you’ll ultimately need to pay up (assuming your card doesn’t have zero fraud liability).

Check your recent account activity

This is something your card issuer will do with you when you report your card as lost or stolen — they’ll name some of your recent transactions and ask you to confirm you made them. Still, even after you’ve canceled your credit card and gotten a new one, you should regularly check your recent activity, seeing what transactions are pending or have gone through. This is something we encourage all consumers to do, regardless of whether they have lost a credit card or not, because this precautionary measure can allow you to catch fraudulent activity and any errors earlier on. If you access your account online, you’ll want to check your account every week or so, while those who don’t access their account online will have to wait until they get their monthly statement. If anything looks off, contact your credit card issuer as soon as possible to alert it of the potential fraud.

Update payment information for automated transactions

If you make automated payments (e.g., you’ve set up recurring automatic payments for your monthly train pass or your utilities bill) that are linked to your old credit card, remember to update your payment information on those platforms. That way, you can ensure your future monthly bills still get processed, either via your new credit card or a different credit card, and avoid missed or late payments. Keep in mind that you may also need to remove your old credit card’s information from any digital wallets you may use. Some digital wallets, like Apple Pay, will automatically update your new card number, but as Apple notes, “If your issuer doesn’t support updates, you might need to remove the card, then add it again.”

Losing a credit card can be stressful, but by following these steps, you can soothe your anxieties and render the situation into something less disquieting. Now that you know more about what you should do if you lose your credit card, learn more about what perks credit cards can offer by following our credit card blog.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.