Your credit card is one of the most valuable items in your wallet, and you rightfully might feel frantic if it’s been lost or stolen. But unlike some other pieces of property, federal law protects your credit card. Replacing it might be a pain, but if you act fast you can limit the damage done.
Here’s what you should do if your credit card is lost or stolen.
1. Don’t Panic
Even if your card was stolen, you shouldn’t panic. Federal law limits your liability for any unauthorized charges that occur on your stolen credit card. The Fair Credit Billing Act states that your maximum liability for unauthorized charges is $50. That amount drops to $0 if the charges occur after you report your card stolen, or if it’s your credit card number, not your physical card, that is compromised.
Many credit card companies go a step further and waive even that $50 liability. Even so, you should report your card lost or stolen as soon as you can.
2. Contact Your Credit Card Company ASAP
You should contact your credit card company as soon as you realize your card is missing or stolen; don’t even wait five minutes. If you usually refer to the back of your credit card to get your company’s contact information, you’ll have to go online or check your last credit card statement for the phone number. Some credit card companies do let you report your card missing or stolen through your online account.