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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 networks 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 and also create a fraud alert.
It is best to do this within two 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|
|Barclays||Barclays Security Center||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 you 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. Once you receive your new card, follow these 9 tips to prevent identity theft from occurring in the future.
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.
The FCBA limits your liability to $50, which means that’s the maximum amount you could owe the bank if someone steals your card and uses it without your permission before you’ve reported the card stolen. If you report the card stolen before any charges are made you will not be responsible for any of the charges.
Most credit card companies offer $0 liability, which means you won’t owe any money for unauthorized transactions, even if the charges were made before you reported the card stolen. But you must contact the card issuer to report your card as lost as stolen as soon as you notice the problem.
Remember, debit cards do not have these same protections as credit cards, so if your debit card is stolen you may end up losing money.
Save Some Hassle With Virtual Credit Card Numbers
Virtual credit card numbers are a bit like digital copies of your credit card.
You can make virtual card numbers to use for online shopping, which use different account information than your physical card. If any of your virtual card numbers are compromised you can easily cancel them and create new ones, without having to report your card as stolen.
Likewise, in some cases if you report your physical card as lost or stolen you won’t need to change your virtual card numbers. So if you were paying for a Netflix subscription with a virtual card, for example, you wouldn’t need to re-enter your card information after getting a new one in the mail — you’ll just continue to use the same virtual number. This can be pretty handy, especially if you have a lot of subscription services or online payment accounts with merchants.
Three credit card issuers offer virtual numbers for cardholders:
However, only two issuers allow you to keep the same virtual cards if you report your physical card as lost or stolen: Bank of America and Capital One. With Citi, if you report your card as lost or stolen all of your virtual cards will be canceled, and you’ll need to create new ones.
You can learn all about virtual credit cards here, including how to set them up with the three issuers above.