A stolen credit card may sound like a nightmare, but, as long as you notice the lost card and act quickly, this situation should be no cause for alarm.
Your liability is limited by law, and the major credit card payment processors all have $0 fraud liability policies, meaning that you won’t have to pay for fraudulent charges as long as you act responsibly.
So, if you’ve just realized that your credit card is lost or stolen, don’t panic: there are some simple steps you can take to remedy the problem.
Report Your Card as Lost or Stolen
The first thing to do is report your lost card to your card issuer, and, if you think your card has been stolen and used, to report the fraudulent use to the credit reporting agencies, creating a fraud alert.
It is best to do this within 2 days, though some credit card issuers are more forgiving than others. Usually, you can call the number on the back of your card to contact your issuer.
Since your card is gone, here is a collection of popular issuers and networks, with the phone numbers you need and the individual lost/stolen card reporting website as well.
Credit Card Issuers
|Credit Card Issuer||Website||Phone Number|
|Bank Of America||Bank Of America Lost/Stolen Card Reporting||1-800-732-9194|
|Barclaycard||Barclaycard Account FAQ||1-877-523-0478|
|Capital One||Capital One Contact Page||
|Chase||Chase Fraud Resources Page||
1-800-432-3137 (Personal Credit Cards)
1-888-269-8690 (Business Credit Cards)
|Citi||Citi Contact Resources Page||1-800-950-5114|
|USAA||USAA Contact Resources||1-800-531-8722|
|Payment Processor||Website||Phone Number|
|Visa||Visa Lost/Stolen Card Reporting||1-800-847-2911|
|MasterCard||MasterCard Lost/Stolen Card FAQ||1-800-627-8372|
|American Express||American Express Lost Card/Account Help||1-800-992-3404|
|Discover||Discover Lost/Stolen Card FAQ||1-800-347-2683|
|Credit Bureau||Website||Phone Number|
|Experian||Experian Credit Fraud Resources Page||1-888-397-3742|
|Equifax||Equifax Credit Fraud Resources Page||1-800-627-8372|
|TransUnion||TransUnion Credit Fraud Resources Page||1-800-680-7289|
What Happens after I Report My Lost Card?
After your report your card as lost or stolen, your issuer will cancel the card and then mail you a new one, with a new account number. Usually, this process will have no effect on your credit report.
When a Re-Issued Card Could Affect Your Credit Report
Typically, a re-issued card will be reported to the credit reporting agencies exactly as the previous card was reported, with the same credit limit, balance, and history. In some cases, however, a credit card issuer could report the re-issued card as a new account, with a new open date.
This will decrease the average length of your credit card history, can have a negative impact on your credit report because the FICO® Score counts average length of credit history as 15% of your total score.
To be safe, keep an eye on your credit reports after you get a card re-issued to see if you are affected by this. Contact your credit card issuer if you are concerned about this and to possibly get the situation reversed.
The Fair Credit Billing Act Limits Your Liability
Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), cardholders are protected from having to pay the full cost of fraudulent credit card charges.
If you report your card within 2 days of becoming aware that it is lost, the maximum charge for any unauthorized use of your card is $50.
If you wait more than 2 days to report the loss, your liability will rise to $500. If you wait more than 60 days, you can be held responsible for all charges.
Take note that most people will never have to pay these charges, and that the major card payment processors and issuers have zero dollar fraud liability policies.
The MasterCard version, for example, called Zero Liability Protection, only requires that you take reasonable care to protect your card, and that you report the loss “promptly.”