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You Lost Your Card. Now What?

Key Takeaways

  • Notify your bank or card issuer immediately to cancel or freeze your card and order a new one.
  • Search for fraudulent transactions using online banking or your bank’s mobile app.
  • Update your payment information for any accounts linked to your canceled card.

By Stephen Sellner | Citizens Bank Staff

We misplace things. It happens. It’s annoying, but again — it happens.

But it’s really upsetting when we misplace our debit or credit card. Your world’s flipped upside down. Then your new card arrives and all is right again.

So how do you go from that “the world is over” feeling to “life is good again” relief? Follow these three easy steps:

1. Notify your bank/card issuer

Do this right away. That way they can cancel your card before any — or further — fraudulent charges can be made, and then issue you a new one.

Some financial institutions can temporarily freeze your card while you search for it. This prevents anyone from using it while you sift through your couch cushions, under your car seat, or anywhere else. If the card is found, then the freeze can be lifted and everything goes back to normal. If it remains missing, the card company will simply deactivate the card and send you a new one.

2. Check for fraudulent transactions

Log onto your bank’s mobile app or online banking to check for recent transactions. Do you see anything suspicious? If so, notify your bank or card issuer immediately. Continue to check over the next few days since some transactions can take a few days to appear on your account.

Report any fraudulent activity to your bank or card issuer. The liability limit for unauthorized credit card use is $50, according to the Fair Credit and Billing Act. 

Debit cards have different rules. You're not responsible for unauthorized transactions made on your missing debit card if you report it lost or stolen before the fraudulent activity occurs, per the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. However, if you report it lost or stolen after someone used it fraudulently, then your liability depends on when you reported it:

If you report:

Your maximum loss:

Before any unauthorized charges are made.

$0

Within 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft.

$50

More than 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, but less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you.

$500

More than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you.

All the money taken from your ATM/debit card account, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.

If unauthorized transactions are made using your debit card number, but your card is neither lost or stolen, you won't be liable for those transactions if they're reported within 60 days of when you receive your statement.

Check with your bank or card issuer for more information about liability.

3. Plan ahead for automatic bills

If you’ve canceled your card and the new one is on the way, congratulations — the most important work is over. However, if your card linked to any bills or services — Amazon and Uber, for instance — you’ll need to update your payment information to a different card. Then, when your new card arrives, you can add your new card to those accounts.

More information

Did you misplace your Citizens Bank debit or credit card? Cancel your card and order a new one by contacting customer service at 1-800-922-9999. Follow the prompt to “card services” to get started.

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