What to do when your credit card is lost or stolen

Don't worry – there are quick and easy ways to protect your credit card when it's lost or stolen.

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If something happens to your credit card, you can usually lock or cancel it in a few minutes. That stops anyone else from using it. And once your credit card provider knows it's lost or stolen, they'll also be able to keep your account safe.

Steps to take when your credit card is lost or stolen

  1. Contact your credit card provider straight away and let them know what's happened.
  2. Cancel or lock your credit card. If you know the card's been stolen, cancel it ASAP. If you want to look for your card first, lock it so that no one can use it while it's lost.
  3. Log in to your account and check your transaction history to make sure there are no unauthorised transactions. If there are, let your bank or provider know so they can investigate (you don't have to pay for unauthorised transactions).

If you have cancelled your card, you should also update your payment details for any subscriptions or direct debit plans you pay for with that account. Let these businesses know straight away – you can then update the payment details once you get your replacement card.

Phone numbers to report a lost or stolen credit card with your bank

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.

BankContact number (Australia)Contact number (overseas)
st.george logo1800 028 208+612 9553 5333

bank of melbourne logo
1800 772 266+613 9982 4186
coles logo1800 005 809+613 9420 4818

citi logo
13 24 84+612 8225 0615
american express logo1300 132 639+612 9271 8664
nab logo1800 033 103+613 8641 9121
anz logo1800 033 844+613 9683 7043
virgin money logo13 37 39+612 8288 2222
hsbc provider logo13 21 52+612 9005 8511
westpac logo1300 130 961+612 9293 9270
commbank logo13 22 21+612 9999 3283
people's choice logo13 11 82+612 8299 9101
imb logo13 34 62 (business hours); 1800 800 521 (after hours)+612 4298 0111

What happens if my card has already been fraudulently used?

Fortunately, your card will be frozen or cancelled the moment you reported the theft, so that will put an end to the illegal shopping spree. Even better, 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 you card was missing. You must also not have reported more than one such incident in the last 12 months, your account must be in good standing, and you must 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 directly consult 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 their card policies.

Read our thorough guide on credit card fraud traps and scams

Mistakes to avoid when reporting a lost or stolen credit card

  • Procrastination. This is a big one when it comes to reporting the theft or loss of a card. A minute can make all the difference between dodging a bullet and letting that thief successfully swipe your card. On top of that, you shouldn’t give your card issuer any grounds to accuse you of negligence.
  • Negligence. Negligence can disqualify you from receiving fraud protection, but the onus remains on your card provider to prove that you were negligent. This is usually unlikely, but if the thief had been able to withdraw money using your card because you’d done something silly like write your PIN on it, chances are you’re going to be liable for that loss.
  • Administration in the aftermath. Depending on your card issuer and card policy, a fraud investigation may result in your account being frozen for the period. If this should happen, be sure to make the necessary arrangements in the interim. If you have automatically scheduled payments on this card, take care to make alternative arrangements for paying your bills to avoid late fees or penalties.

Word of caution

To avoid experiencing this sort of anxiety again in future, make sure to do whatever it takes to keep your belongings safe, be it deploying lock and key or having your wallet chained to you at all times. Prevention is better than cure, so stay vigilant!

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