What to Do When Your Credit Card is Lost or Stolen

I was hanging out with a friend this morning when he realized he had misplaced his credit card. He called the restaurant he was dining at last night and luckily they had his card. He also called his card company to ensure there had been no fraudulent charges made on the card. He was in the clear. I told him he shouldn't have had as many glasses of wine with dinner. 🙂

One of the things he struggled with as he was panicking about his lost card was getting the number for the credit card issuer. In this case, it was Chase Cards. He didn't have another Chase card in his wallet, and I wasn't carrying a Chase card, so we were stumped at first.

He ended up calling directory service and getting the number, but I thought it might have been nice if he had the number added to his contacts on his phone. Here's a list of the numbers to call, by major card issuer, to report your lost credit card.

Note: With most of these numbers, they will ironically ask you for your card number. However, Ive tried to list below what other options you have, or how to just get to a person to talk to.

Chase Cards: 1-888-269-8690; From Outside the United States: 1-480-350-7099
– You will need to wait for the prompts for card number to pass, then when they ask for it, enter the last four digits of your social security number

Discover Cards
: 1-800-DISCOVER; From Outside the US: 1-801-902-3100
– Press #, then press 2

Citi Cards: 1-800-950-5114
– Press 0

American Express: 1-800-528-4800
– Say “report a lost or stolen card”, then say, “I don't have it” if you don't know your card number

What Charges Are You Liable For?

It's definitely important to call your credit card company as soon as possible once you realize your card is lost or might have been stolen. The person with access to your card could be running up a bunch of charges.

So what happens if they spend $500 on the card before you call your credit card company? Well, luckily we have the Fair Credit Billing Act, which, as I understand it, says you are only liable for up to $50 in fraudulent charges.

Also, once you call your credit card issuer and inform them of the lost or stolen card, you are no longer liable for future fraudulent charges. For more information see the FTC's Facts for Consumers page on the Fair Credit Billing Act. Make note of the requirements to mail in a letter as well.

I'd love to hear from you in the comments if you've ever had to pay that $50. I'm assuming most credit card issuers also pick up that portion as well, regardless.

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  1. Maria Wantell says:

    I was surprised that they let you keep the card open too! Whenever we have a card compromised (which is more often than you’d think), they usually close it immediately.