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Lost Your Debit Card? First 2 Steps!

photo by The Consumerist

Ok, so cleverdude, mapgirl, and plonkee will testify that I misplaced my debit card last Thursday. It’s kind of embarrassing to show up to a PF blogger get together and realize you’ve failed at a fundamental part of PF–keeping track of your money. Oops. Now mapgirl has my full name and my bank account number (check).

But this happened last year when I lost my entire wallet, so I knew what to do.

Well, first I called Mr. Micah just to make sure it wasn’t in the other purse. But that doesn’t really count. These are the first two steps to take after you’ve looked a bit for it, which I did as soon as I got home.

First, check your online statement.

Thank God for online banking! I was able to go right into my account and see that nothing had happened since I went shopping on Sunday. That was a huge relief, as I was pretty sure that I’d misplaced it and it hadn’t been stolen. It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and kind of hectic after spending a weekend away and needing to do all the shopping and cooking for a week.

I suggest checking the statement first because this lets you know whether or not you need to cancel the card. You can also be specific about reporting any false charges.

Next, freeze your debit card.

If it hasn’t been stolen, there’s no real reason to cancel it. And I figured that between Sunday and Thursday (see how good I am at not spending? πŸ˜‰ ) a thief would have probably used it. So it was probably in my apartment.

But just in case, I wanted to make my accounts safe. A debit card is more of a hassle to lose, since it’s linked to real money. Well, it’s more of a potential loss.

I had to do this last year too. I just called my bank, told them I couldn’t find my card and that I wanted it frozen while I looked. Then I slept easy. I searched all my pants the next day and found it in a pocket. I probably stuck it in there so that I could carry a bag better or something. I try to be really fast at the self-checkout.

So then I called the bank again and had them unfreeze the card. Actually, I didn’t do that until Monday because I forgot on Saturday and then on Sunday they don’t have customer service (I’m moving to Wachovia, but there’s a holdup). So now I’m empowered to be a consumer again.

If you lose your debit card, it’s not the end of the world. Probably. Keep your head and follow these two steps. Once you’ve secured your money, then you can look for the card without panicking. You can even sleep through the night.

Or just don’t lose your card…

A couple other bloggers have had similar losses recently. With mixed results. At Gather Little by Little and No Credit Needed (NCN’s happy ending).


mapgirl December 4, 2007 at 10:37 am

Now I have the keys to everything muhahahaha! *evil grin*

I haven’t even cashed the check yet. Nor have I looked at it again since you gave it to me. Does that make me a lazy person because I didn’t put the check into the bank right away to start earning interest on it?

mrsmicah December 4, 2007 at 11:11 am

Well, it was only $7, so I don’t know what kind of interest difference that makes. It makes you not a super-hyper person.

Oooh, I figured out a way to determine the value–I could come up with a formula involving the cost of trips to the bank, the value of the interest, and your other banking needs. But I’m too lazy to come up with the formula. Plus I don’t have your variables. Or do I? πŸ˜‰

Kyle December 4, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Online banking sure is great for situations like this! I have nightmares about losing my wallet, but knock on wood, it hasn’t heppened yet.

The Digerati Life December 4, 2007 at 1:47 pm

I’ve never lost a wallet but my bag’s gotten stolen before. Good thing no id theft came off it. Hope it’s all under control now.

Seems like you guys had a good time. I wish we would do something similar here in the West Coast :).

plonkee December 4, 2007 at 3:44 pm

It’s good to hear that you got all your debit card stuff sorted out. I’ve never thought of freezing rather than cancelling them before.

paidtwice December 4, 2007 at 4:39 pm

but the question is, have you found it yet?

mrsmicah December 4, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Yes, PT, I found it! Whew.

One thing I remembered after writing this is that I believe you can freeze a credit card you no longer plan to use (but you’re keeping it open for your credit score or something). That way people can’t use it if you lose it or they steal it.

Fabulously Broke December 5, 2007 at 7:04 am

I’m so happy you found it πŸ™‚ But thanks for the head up too!

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