Imagine waiting in line to pay for groceries when you suddenly realize that your debit card is missing. First of all, don't panic – canceling a debit card takes seconds. If you're using a mobile banking app, you may be able to cancel the card from your phone. Another option is to call your bank and ask them to turn off the card.
Depending on the bank, you may be able to cancel a lost debit card via online or mobile banking. If that's not an option, you'll need to call the bank or card issuer. Just make sure you do it as soon as you notice your card is missing.
Cancel Your Debit Card Online
Unlike prepaid cards, debit cards are linked to your bank account. For this reason, it's essential to report their loss or theft as soon as possible, says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you notify your bank within two business days, your liability for unauthorized charges tops out at $50. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of losing your money.
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The first step to canceling a debit card is to log into your banking account from your computer or smartphone. Most banking apps allow users to turn off their cards with just a few clicks. Capital One, for example, gives customers the option to cancel their debit cards via its website or mobile app. Once logged in, you can click "Replace Lost Card" and follow the instructions. First United Bank, Ally Bank and other debit/credit card issuers all offer this option.
Make sure you also check your account for unauthorized charges. If you notice anything unusual, contact a bank representative immediately. To stay safe, cancel any automatic payments before turning off your debit card. When you're done, get in touch with your bank to request a new card. Ideally, follow up with a letter or email that includes your card number, the date you reported the loss and any unauthorized charges.
Contact Credit Card Companies
Some consumers don't feel comfortable using mobile banking. Plus, not all card issuers offer this service. In such cases, reach out to your bank as soon as you notice your card is missing. Visit a local branch or access its website, click "Contact" and call the number provided. The bank's ATMs will display the phone number, too.
Another option is to contact the card issuer, such as Visa or MasterCard. Visa cardholders, for example, can report a lost or stolen card at 1-800-847-2911. If you choose this option, a customer service representative will deactivate your card and then notify your bank. A new Visa debit card will be issued within 24 to 72 hours. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get emergency cash until your new card arrives.
Note that Wells Fargo and other banks allow customers to temporarily freeze lost debit cards via mobile or online banking. If you choose this option and your card turns up, you can turn it back on instantly. Just make sure you monitor your bank account until you find the card or get a new one.
Follow the same steps if you lose your debit card while on a vacation. Use LastPass or other password managers to save your bank account number, PIN and other information you may need when canceling a debit card. Most password managers allow users to save confidential data in a digital vault. Use this feature to retrieve your online banking credentials and log into the app to deactivate your card if necessary.