Youâve dug through your purse, rifled through your drawers and turned the house upside down â but no matter where you look, you canât find your debit card. What do you do now?
Whether you have a lost debit card, or you suspect it could have been stolen, here are the immediate steps you should take to protect yourself.
Check your account balance immediately and go over your purchase history for any transactions you donât recognize, even if they are in small amounts. Take note of any purchases you know are fraudulent or unauthorized, and write down all the details.
You might even be able to disable or lock your lost debit card via your bankâs app or website, said Kris Alban, executive vice president of iGrad, a San Diego-based financial literacy company.
âBank of America, Wells Fargo and a few other banks offer this feature, making it possible to shut down the card yourself within seconds of theft or loss,â he said.
Let your bank know that you have a lost debit card, and inform them of any suspicious transactions youâve noted from checking your account online.
Below is a handy alphabetical table of contact phone numbers for major U.S. banks, depending on whether youâre calling from the U.S. or from abroad. If you canât find your bank below, check their website for their toll-free customer service number.
|Bank||From the U.S.||From abroad|
|Bank of America||800-432-1000||+1 315-724-4022|
|Capital One||800-655-2265||+1 804-967-1000|
|PNC Bank||888-762-2265||+1 412-803-7711|
|US Bank||800-872-2567||+1 503-401-9991|
|Wells Fargo||800-869-3557||Check number to call here|
Decide whether you want to cancel the lost debit card outright and get a replacement, or simply put a temporary hold just in case it turns up somewhere in between your sofa cushions. There may be a fee for the replacement card or to have it rushed to you in case you need it right away.
Whatever the course of action, make sure to keep track of your conversation by asking for the confirmation number for your case and the name and employee ID of the person you speak to. Keep this information somewhere safe and easily accessible.
According to Alban, the sooner you report your lost debit card, the more likely it is youâll recover any funds that were stolen.
âWhile debit cards donât have the same protections as credit cards, there are federal laws that protect you,â he said.
Federal law stipulates the following:
Thanks to the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, you are not responsible for any charges incurred on your card after youâve notified your bank of its loss.
Make alternative arrangements to pay your bills, so you donât get hit with late fees or get your electricity suddenly cut off without warning. Update your suppliers as needed with your new bank card information once you receive it.
Some banks may ask you to provide written confirmation of any disputed transactions on you account; make sure you follow up in writing within 10 business days.
In most cases, your bank or card issuer has 10 business days to investigate the issue. If they need more time, they need to issue a temporary credit to your account of the disputed amount â minus $50, maximum â while they continue to investigate. They have to correct any errors within one business day after determining them and must report their findings to you within three business days.
Some measures you can put in place for your added security include changing the PIN number to your card and asking your bank to alert you when purchases are made over a certain amount.
Ensure your bank can get ahold of you in case of an emergency, and that you also have their toll-free number handy if you need to contact them again in a hurry.
To avoid an embarrassing situation where you find yourself unable to pay, consider getting a backup credit card for emergencies.