Imagine arriving home after a trip to the shops or coffee with a friend and realising that your credit card is nowhere to be found. Panic sets in and you fear for your funds. You’re not alone though; research from the Commonwealth Bank estimates that around 11.5 million credit cards are lost or stolen in Australia each year (CBA, 2014)!
Lost or misplaced your credit card?
While many of us immediately fear our credit card being stolen, and the risk of identity theft, you’ll be relieved to know that most people simply misplace their credit cards – and you may surprised by where.
The place you’re most likely to find a lost credit card is actually in your own home (61%), followed by bars and restaurants (37%). If you’re a male, you’re more likely to lose your card on a night out (31% of men versus 22% of women), whereas women are more likely to lose their card when they’re out shopping (52% of women versus 45% of men).
While more than half (61%) of the “lost” cards turn up later after being misplaced, what should you do if your card is genuinely lost or stolen? Here are a few tips to hopefully protect you from any problems or theft that could result from a lost or stolen card…
1. Lock, block, or cancel your card
If you’re a Commonwealth Bank customer, use the Lock, Block, Limit function of the mobile banking app to temporarily lock your card. This renders your card unusable while you work out whether your card is just misplaced or genuinely lost forever. If it turns out to be well and truly lost, you can also cancel your card through the CommBank app.
For all other banking institutions, the process is currently that you phone your bank or visit your bank’s nearest branch to get the lost card cancelled and order a replacement.
Thanks to the ability to easily lock or cancel credit cards, statistics show fraud using a lost or stolen credit card is on the decrease. Just 9% of credit card frauds that occurred in 2014-2015 were committed using a lost or stolen credit card, according to the 2015 Australian Payments Fraud Report (Australia Payment Clearing Associating (APCA)).
2. Check your spending history
Check your card’s history for any charges or transactions that you didn’t carry out or authorise. Most banks have zero liability policies that protect you against identity theft and fraudulent transactions; however, some of these policies may depend on you reporting the fraudulent transactions as soon as possible.
3. Contact businesses that have recurring fees
If you have any recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities, phone bill, etc.) coming off the lost card, inform the appropriate businesses of your new credit card details. This will avoid any fees and penalties resulting from them having your previous (and now incorrect) card details or “insufficient funds”.
4. Check your credit rating
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, but keep in mind that it’s most likely misplaced rather than lost. And if it does turn out to be lost, it’s easy enough to cancel or temporarily suspend your card to avoid any potential misuse of your card, as long as you act promptly.