At a Glance

No one wants to lose their credit card. While it won’t have an impact on your credit, it can be time-consuming to take the appropriate steps to report the card and get a new one. However, these steps are important because otherwise, you may be at risk for financial fraud or identity theft, fees and penalties, and other charges.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Steps to take when you lose your credit card

1. Lock your credit card

The first step you should do as soon as possible is to lock or freeze your lost credit card. This will help buy you time to either find it or order a replacement card. Most of the time, you can do this through the card issuer’s website or mobile app.

Essentially, freezing/locking your card tells the card issuer to temporarily block all new purchases without canceling the card. This prevents thieves from making any fraudulent purchases.

If you find your card, you can unlock it and start using it again.

2. Track your card

Retrace your steps. Check your recent transactions to see where you made your last purchase, and call and ask if someone found and turned in your card.

3. Check for unauthorized charges

Keep a close eye on your credit card statement. If there are any purchases you don’t recognize, this can indicate your card was stolen, and you should report it immediately to your card issuer.

4. Report to the credit card issuer

Whether you notice unauthorized charges or not, you should report a lost card to the card issuer as soon as possible. In most cases, you can do this online, or card issuers typically have phone numbers you can call whether you’re in the U.S. or traveling abroad. Doing so immediately can help ensure you won’t be on the hook for any fraudulent charges made with your stolen card.

They can also either place a freeze on your card, deactivate or cancel your current card number, and issue you a new card.

5. File a police report

If you are confident your card was stolen, consider filing a police report. Especially if a thief took your whole wallet or purse, which likely has your driver’s license and other information, there’s an increased chance it can be used for financial fraud or identity theft. Reporting it to the police can help protect you against these activities, and allow police to recognize patterns of similar activity.

Be prepared with information about where and when it happened, as well as exactly what items were stolen.

6. Update automatic bill pay

With some issuers, placing a freeze on your card won’t interfere with any recurring payments you have for your bills, so you won’t have to worry about missing payments. However, confirm this with your card issuer because otherwise, you’ll want to set up different payment methods so you don’t miss a payment.

And, if you end up getting a replacement card, you’ll want to update those automatic payments immediately to avoid any fees.

7. Request a card replacement

Finally, if you’ve searched and can’t find your card, you’ll probably need to request a replacement. Most issuers will replace your lost credit card for free. The card number previously assigned to you will no longer be active and you’ll be mailed a replacement card with a new number. It typically takes three to seven business days to receive a replacement.

How to replace a credit card

Once you report a card lost or stolen, the card issuer will send a new card to you. You can either request a new card on the issuer’s website or through the mobile app or by contacting customer service. After a few business days, you’ll receive a replacement.

Once you receive your new card:

  • Update any linked accounts. If you have your old card numbers saved for any automatic payments, such as subscriptions or other bills, or with any merchants, such as online stores, you must update those accounts with your new card information.
  • Keep an eye on your statement. Even though your old card account should be deactivated and/or closed, you’ll want to pay close attention to your next card statement and check for any unauthorized charges made around the time your card was lost or stolen.
  • Protect your new card. Sign the back of your new card, avoid writing the number down, and only use the card with merchants you trust. Consider adding it to your mobile wallet so you don’t have to always use your physical card.

Does a lost credit card affect your credit?

Replacing a credit card doesn’t affect your credit score. Even if it has a new number, the card account and age remain the same when it comes to credit reporting.

However, some ways losing a card could affect your score if you don’t take the proper steps:

1. Pay the old bill on time

Just because a card is lost or stolen and replaced doesn’t mean the balance on the old card becomes $0. Even if it’s no longer active, you’re still liable for charges you incurred when the card was in your possession. If you don’t make that payment, your payment history on your credit report could be negatively impacted and you may have to pay late fees or accrue interest.

2. Monitor your identity

If you feel you’re at risk for identity theft, consider placing a freeze on your credit profile through one of the credit reporting bureaus. (The others will automatically be notified.) This ensures no one can open new credit (such as a loan or credit card) in your name.

3. Check your credit report

You can get one free credit report each year from, and one free report per year from each of the three credit bureaus. Consider staggering your report requests in the months after you lose your card to keep an eye on any unauthorized activity.

Learn more: What is a Credit Report?

What to do if you find your missing credit card

If you find your missing card, great! Contact the card issuer to let them know you found it. Likely, you’ll be instructed to destroy and dispose of the card and instead use the replacement card they’ve arranged to be sent to you (or that you’ve already received). If you are sure no one else had access to your card, you may not have to be as diligent with monitoring your identity and credit.


Yes, the credit card company will mail you a new credit card with a new card number. This means all merchants and companies with your old card saved (such as for recurring payments) must be updated.

It’s not great to lose a credit card because there’s a chance someone could use it to make fraudulent charges. However, in general, it won’t have an impact on your credit and you likely won’t be responsible for charges on your lost card. It can also be time-consuming to report the loss and update all merchants with your new card number.

You must update all recurring payments with the new card because it will have a new number.

Make it a habit to put your card back in the same place every time you lose it rather than shoving it in your pocket, purse, sitting it on the counter, etc. Make a list of all the cards in your wallet and periodically check to ensure they are all there. Also, download the card issuer’s mobile app so you can freeze or lock the card quickly in case it ever does go missing.