Handle a Found Credit Card: Replacing Your Lost Credit Card

What Should You Do If You Find Someone's Credit Card?

It can be a palpable sense of distress when you lose your credit card in a public place. If you happen to find someone else's credit card, it is pretty natural to feel for them. So, what does it mean for you to do? It would be best if you made a contentious decision. You don't want to leave the card lying around for a thief to snatch up. In the same place, you don't even want to hold that card without the owner's permission, which is also a severe crime. What to do in such a scenario may be confusing. Here are a few things you must do when you find someone's credit card.

Key Highlights

  • If you find a misplaced card, don't leave it unattended; instead, make an effort to return it to the bank or contact the customer service number provided on the card.

  • If you report a lost credit card, the lender is likely to deactivate it and provide the cardholder with a replacement.

  • If your card is lost, call your card company immediately to freeze your account and get a new card.

Essential Steps to Take When You Find a Credit Card

Learn the necessary actions to follow when you come across a credit card.

1- Contact the Lender

If you discover a misplaced or lost credit card, the first move you should take is to call the number on the back of the card and report it as lost. Many banks and credit card companies have a stature for such situations. When you contact them, a customer service representative can internally freeze the account and will also notify the cardholder about the same. Reaching out to the lender is the best option because it informs the card issuer and the cardholder that the card has been compromised, allowing the banks to take necessary measures to prevent fraud.

The Fair Credit Billing Act limits the cardholders' liability to a maximum of $50, and a major credit card network has policies with zero liability. This signifies that the cardholder remains indemnified against potential fraudulent charges.

2- Destroy the Card

If you find a lost credit card, the bank may advise you to discard or shred the card. However, you can also do it in the first place when you find it. According to credit card expert John Ulzheimer, destroying the card right away saves the time needed to call the bank. It ensures the credit card doesn't end up in the wrong hands. The credit card issuer replaces the card for free, so the cardholder only loses the time it takes to get a new card.

 It is also important to note that you make sure to destroy all the pieces of the card so that important information like the account number, expiration date, and CVV cannot be read anymore.

3- Don't Try to Contact the Cardholder

It is strongly advisable not to try to find or contact the cardholder. Your intention may be pretty straightforward to return the card, which is also appreciated, but the excellent option is to call the customer service number, get the card blocked, and destroy it. The reason behind this approach is that the card might have already been used fraudulently. If you initiate to return it to the owner, it could only create a false sense of security. 

There is also a possibility that someone might have noted the card details and could use them for online purchases even without physically having the card. Contacting the cardholder directly is not the safest or most effective solution.

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What to Do If Someone Claims the Found Credit Card Is Theirs

When someone claims that the credit card you found belongs to them, it is good to be prudent in that situation. Refrain them from giving the card unless they prove their ownership by presenting the identification and details on the card. If you are unsure, transfer the card to the store clerk, bank personnel, or another authorised person. Also, ask them to report the lost card and advise them to contact their issuer for placement. If you feel that the situation is going too far, it is best to end the conversation for your safety.

How Do You Properly Dispose of the Credit Card?

A good way to dispose of a found credit card effectively is to use scissors. For cards with magnetic stripes, run a magnet along the stripe to deactivate it, then cut the card into pieces. If the card has a chip, either break the chip or cut it with scissors.

Metal cards can be difficult to destroy, and you must go to a bank for proper disposal. After cutting the card, dispose of its pieces in different trash bags to prevent fraudsters from reconstructing the card number.

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What Do You Do If You Lose Your Credit Card?

If you lose your credit card, the first action you should take is to contact the card issuer to report the loss and request a replacement card. In such cases, the issuer typically freezes the card to prevent unauthorised charges. The Fair Credit Billing Act limits your liability to $50 if someone has used your card. However, many issuers refund the total amount. If your card was in a lost wallet, replace your driver's licence and other cards. Once you receive the replacement card, update all the automatic payments and monitor your credit reports for unusual activity. Also, set up a fraud alert for immediate notification if someone tries to open a new card using your identity.

Final Words

If you encounter a missed credit card anywhere, you get an opportunity to do a kind deed. The most simple and most considered action you can take is to either call the number on the back of the card or tear down the credit card physically. Notably, the credit card issuer has built robust liability protection for the card holders. This mitigates the concerns about the cardholder being held responsible for substantial fraudulent charges. The best way to get out of this situation is to effectively neutralise the card and minimise the stress of all the parties involved.

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05 Feb, 2024


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