What to do when your credit card is lost or stolen
Don't worry, there are quick and easy ways to protect your lost or stolen credit card.
If something happens to your credit card, you can usually lock or cancel it within just a few minutes. Once your credit card provider knows your card is lost or stolen, it will also be able to keep your account safe.
What to do if you have lost your credit card or it has been stolen
If you can't find your credit card, or you think it has been stolen, there are some crucial steps to take straight away. It is important you take action immediately, as this will help you when it comes to any fraud investigations that may occur (more on that below).
3 steps to take if your card is lost or stolen
- Cancel or lock your credit card.
- Check your transaction history to make sure there are no unauthorised transactions.
- Contact your credit card provider and let it know what's happened.
If you use mobile or Internet banking, you should be able to log in to your account and lock your card. This will stop anyone else from being able to use it. You should note that there can be a time limit on a locked card. So, it may automatically unlock after a certain number of days.
If you know your credit card has been stolen, you can also cancel your card completely online. While logged in to your account, you should check your transaction history to ensure there have been no unauthorised transactions.
You can also phone your credit card provider and let them know what has happened. They will be able to keep your account safe and watch out for any suspicious activity. You should flag any concerning transactions with your provider so they can investigate. You will not have to pay for unauthorised transactions.
Who do I call to report a lost or stolen credit card?
Credit card providers have 24/7 hotlines you can call when your credit card is lost or stolen. You can search for yours using the table below. Some providers also give you a way to lock your card or report issues through Internet or mobile banking.
What happens after I report a stolen or lost credit card?
Once you have reported a lost or stolen credit card, your card can no longer be used. In some cases, you will be locked out of your account completely for a period of time.
If you have locked your credit card, no transactions will be authorised, but it is not the same as cancelling your card and a new one will not be automatically sent out. If you have cancelled your card, a new card will be sent out to you.
How long does it take to get a new credit card?
Most banks will send out a replacement card immediately. You can find a comprehensive list of how long banks will take to send out cards here. According to Westpac, customers will receive a new card within 4 to 6 working days.
Some banks will automatically update your digital wallet with your new details, meaning you can continue to make transactions without the need to activate your replacement card.
Please note that if you are reporting your credit card as lost or stolen from overseas, you may be able to request that the bank courier your replacement card (fees may apply). This will take longer than if you were in Australia.
How much does it cost to replace a lost credit card?
Your replacement credit card may not cost you anything. However, some banks do have fees for replacement credit cards. Commonwealth Bank, for example, has a $20 emergency issue/lost/replacement card fee. IMB Bank also has a charge of $10 for every card replacement in excess of 1 per year.
You may need to pay a courier fee if you are having your credit card sent outside of Australia.
What if my card has already been used for fraud?
If your account has already been used for fraud, a fraud investigation will normally take place. In some cases this will lead to your account being frozen during the investigation. If this happens, you will need to make sure you have alternative payment methods. If you have automatically scheduled payments on this card, remember to pay these bills another way to avoid late fees or penalties.
You can read our guide here for more information on what to do if you suspect fraud and how to avoid it happening to you.
You will normally get reimbursed for any money that was taken fraudulently. Most major credit cards have their own version of fraud protection, such as Visa's Zero Liability Policy and Mastercard's Zero Liability Agreement, for scenarios like yours. This means that you will not be held liable for those fraudulent transactions as long as some conditions are fulfilled.
Mastercard’s Zero Liability Agreement
Mastercard’s Zero Liability Agreement relieves you of liability, provided that you’ve shown that you took care to protect your card from the loss, theft or unauthorised use, and notified your financial institution immediately after discovering that your card was missing. You must also not have reported more than 1 such incident in the last 12 months, your account must be in good standing, and be in compliance with the terms and conditions of the cardholder agreement.
Visa’s Zero Liability Policy
Visa’s Zero Liability Policy similarly protects you from fraud, except it does not apply to ATM transactions or transactions that were not processed by Visa. Certain commercial card transactions are also not covered by the policy.
You should find out directly from your card issuer about whether you are covered in your particular circumstances. An investigation will usually be required and may take up to a few weeks, during which time you may be offered a card replacement. Your credit limit in the interim may also be subject to discussion with your card issuer, depending on your type of card and the issuer's card policies.
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