In this fast-paced life of multiple financing options, one could hold more than one card to carry out day-to-day payment transactions, which means losing them could have serious consequences if one does not act immediately.
If you ever have your wallet stolen or lose one or more cards at a time, there are some basic safety protocols to follow to secure the money in your bank account, that you should be aware of.
The first thing to do after your debit or credit card goes missing is to call your bank's customer care helpline.
Almost all banks have dedicated 24/7 helpline numbers to block cards. You should be able to find this number on your passbook or on your bank's website.
Make sure that you have the right number from the bank's website or a trusted source related to the bank. Do not dial a number suggested on social media or from a random Google search as these could be placed online by fraudsters posing as bank employees.
Alternatively, if you use net banking, you can also raise a request to block your card online.
If you are unable to gain access to a phone number or internet facility, you can always visit the branch. However, this could take longer, especially if you lose your card at night, when the bank branches are closed or on a holiday.
You need to block the card to make sure that your card is not misused to make unauthorised transactions or illegal activities. It is the primary measure to ensure you do not lose any funds from your bank account.
The bank will not take any liability for any transactions that take place after the card is stolen unless you report the loss of the card and block it from being misused.
Your bank will send a text message and an e-mail informing that it has blocked the card. Save it for future reference.
2. File an FIR
Whether you lose your debit/credit card or your mobile phone, it is important to register an FIR (First Information Report) at the nearest police station. It is best to report the loss at a police station in the vicinity in which the card or phone was stolen/lost.
Filing an FIR may not really help you find your lost card or mobile phone or wallet, however, it is important to do so as a precautionary measure and as a proof of the robbery.
In case any illegal activity takes place with your stolen debit card, credit card, government ID proof (especially those that you do not bother to reapply for) or your mobile phone, you will not be held liable for it for having reported its loss.
In cases where an illegal transaction does take place and you lose your money, the FIR is required to be provided to the bank to avail a refund.
Additionally, some banks or government offices also ask for a FIR copy to re-apply for the card/ ID (like driving license or PAN card).
3. Apply for a card replacement
Blocking the card does not result in default application for a new card, this is because there is a possibility that you may get your lost card back.
You will need to visit the bank branch and apply for a new credit or debit card. You will be charged with a fee towards the application.
Some banks also allow you to apply online or at the time of blocking the card and post the card to your registered address.
If you weren't using the card that you lost, it is best to close the card account and save on annual fee charges.
4. Change card details on all linked payments
If you had linked your card to make auto-payments towards monthly bills or app-based payments (like in your cab aggregator's app), it is wise to change the details once you receive your new card.
You can also deactivate the feature of card payment till you receive your new card or link it to an alternative card.
Not doing so could cause a default in your payment.
If you change your phone number after the loss of your mobile (if that happens), notify your bank of the immediate change.
You will also need to change the mobile number details on your Aadhaar, workplace and other important places where you may have shared your number as contact details.
5. Check bank statements
While the occurrence of a transaction is reported by the bank to you over a text message and e-mail, there could be instances where your phone has also been stolen along with your wallet. It is important that you check your bank statements periodically to see if any unauthorised transactions have taken place.
Keep doing so for a few months after the loss of your card.
It is good to have helpline numbers and e-mails of your bank handy with you. Similarly, it is also important to have your bank account number, card number and customer ID handy with you to report the loss of your card to your bank with these details.
Some banks also have to the provision to temporarliy block cards or netbanking services when you go on a holiday. This comes handy when you are on a holiday outside India as reporting the loss of card could be difficult, especially if you have left some of your cards behind.
It is wise to have more than one bank account and cards with more than one bank.
It is also wise to not carry all your cards with you at once and keep one card handy in your house for situations like these.