4 Steps to follow if your wallet is stolen with credit and debit cards

The real risk in losing your wallet is losing your debit cards and credit cards as they have monetary value embedded in them. Let us understand what needs to be done in such circumstances.

Aug 24, 2020 11:08 IST India Infoline News Service

People tend to carry all their credit and debit cards in their wallet. It may be a tad risky, but it is so much more convenient. Sounds good; till you actually end up losing your wallet! Nowadays, people don’t carry too much of cash as access to cash is much easier and most payments are done digitally. The real risk in losing your wallet is losing your debit cards and credit cards as they have monetary value embedded in them.

Banks and even financial advisors keep telling you the dos and don’ts about carrying all your cards in your wallet. In cities like Mumbai or Bengaluru, where roads and metros are awfully crowded, it is very likely that your wallet could get picked or you may lose your wallet. What do you do in such circumstances?

Step 1: Inform your bank about the loss of cards immediately

The first thing you must do when you realize you have lost your wallet is to immediately dial the call centre of the debit card / credit card issuer and inform them about the loss of card. Quite often, people do not report the loss of card and spend time searching for the card rather than report the loss. They apprehensive that by reporting the loss of the card, they will have to go through the rigmarole of blocking their cards, getting new cards issued; disrupting financial activities for a few days. Despite the inconveniences involved, it is always best to immediately intimate your bank about the loss.

Step 2: Block the cards using your online mobile apps

As an additional measure of caution, you can also block the debit or credit card from  your online banking interface or even your mobile app interface. In fact, if you have a mobile app interface, it is a lot easier as you can access your accounts with a simple 4-digit MPIN, rather than remember a complex algorithm of usernames and passwords. Even if you have the facility, it is always best to first inform the bank about the loss and then block your card via your online app.

Step 3: File an FIR with the nearest police station

People normally ask if this is mandatory. While not all banks insist on this, it is always better to back up your card blockage with a first information report (FIR) filed at the nearest police station. Remember to file the FIR in the police jurisdiction under which the place of loss falls. That is the legal requirement. Once you file the FIR, you are given a copy of the FIR and that will be useful when you apply for issue of fresh debit / credit card.

Step 4: Check back for any misuse after a few hours

When unscrupulous elements get their hands on your card, they normally wait for a few hours before they use the card. They typically do small transactions that are not easily traced since most of us tend to ignore such transactions. Also, with the touch-less facility available now, people can actually use your card for small transactions up to a value of Rs2000. These things you can check, either with your online app or with the call centre.

Normally, when your card is blocked, transaction approval stops immediately. Hence this risk is more pronounced in the case of any transaction that happens before you discover the loss of your wallet and report to the bank. Check with your bank call centre about the insurance cover that you have in such cases, as it can be useful in reducing your losses.

Should I inform the bank first or file an FIR with the police station?

It is always better to first call up your bank and block your card. When you report the loss of the card, you can tell them that you are simultaneously filing a FIR with the police and that a copy of the FIR would be faxed to them. This is good enough. The reason you must first inform the bank is that your liability on the card ceases the moment you inform the bank about the loss of card.

Here are five key points to remember in such cases

Card losses are really not in your control but here are a few things you can do.
  1. Don’t activate touch-less swipe even for small transactions. It is best avoided.
  2. Insist on OTP authorization for all online transactions.
  3. Don’t keep all your cards in one wallet. Some can be kept separately as a backup.
  4. Even if you get back you wallet, cut the cards into four pieces and dispose them.
  5. Never keep your user names, passwords or PIN numbers written in your wallet.
When your card is lost, you must act fast. That can substantially limit your losses!

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