Credit cards have become an inevitable part of modern lives. Credit cards are easy to carry, convenient for making payments and offer a credit facility that can come in handy, if used wisely. Ease of use, however, comes with the risk of misplacing and losing the card.
What To Do If A Card Is Lost Or Stolen?
Inform Card Issuer
Time is, literally, money when a card is lost. A lost or stolen card can be misused for making cash withdrawals in the blink of an eye, ripping off the original card owner by a few thousands or even lakhs in some cases. It is therefore crucial for the card holder to immediately intimate the bank or credit card issuer and request for the card to be blocked.
The credit card can be blocked through many ways, such as calling the call centre, sending an SMS in the specified format, and through the internet banking facility and apps of the respective banks. The process is quick and can be done within a few minutes. Blocking a credit card not only prevents fraudulent transactions, but also protects the card owner against any liabilities from the misuse of a card.
Most credit card companies offer a zero lost card liability to the card holders. Credit card transactions that may take place after the loss / robbery of the card is reported to the issuer, are insured and the card holder would not have to bear the expenses.
Register A Police Complaint
Once the card is blocked, the card owner should file a first information report (FIR) at the nearest police station. The FIR copy acts as a proof of theft and also protects the complainant against any possible misuse and fraud. Moreover, a copy of the FIR can come in handy if demanded by the bank.
Request For A New Card
The next step is to request the issuer for a new card. The issuer may ask for a copy of the FIR as a proof of loss or theft and issue a new card upon payment of a nominal fee.
How To Be Better Prepared?
Choose a Card Protection Plan (CPP)
Many banks offer card protection plans (CPPs) to protect the card owners from loss, theft and fraud. These are likely to cost anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000 per year. Such plans cover a wide range of frauds such as theft, skimming, counterfeiting, phishing and online usage. It may be a good idea to purchase one such plan as the protection offered by the credit card issuers kicks in only after the card is blocked and that may already be too late in some situations.
Maintain Credit Card Details
Maintaining credit card details is a good financial habit. Information such as the card number, balance details and expiration dates not only help in managing personal finances better, but are also necessary for blocking a card and filing police complaints in the event of a loss or theft.
Temporarily Block Used Cards
Credit cards may sometimes not be used for a prolonged period of time. A card holder who does not expect to use a card for some time may be well advised to temporarily block the card, to prevent any fraudulent activity if the card is stolen. Only a few credit card issuers currently offer such a facility, but more are likely to follow suit.
Use Mobile Payment Wallets
Mobile payment wallets such as Google Pay, PayTM and PhonePe have gained prominence in the recent past. These apps eliminate the need to carry credit card and are more secure compared to swiping a credit card. One has to keep in mind that these do not offer a credit facility (and repayment cycle) that comes with a credit card.