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Lose card abroad? Top 8 tips to get it back & save from misuse

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lose card abroad things to do

It can happen to all of us. For instance, You forget your card at an ATM abroad after withdrawing cash. Or, you might slip the card out of your pocket while removing other things. You lose card abroad in a taxi. You misplace it at a supermarket till while filling your bags. Someone steals your wallet. Or, you simply just lose it while travelling and can’t remember where or how.

As soon as you realise that you’ve lost your card abroad, leave the sulking to later and take important steps. Why? So nobody misuses your card, money is not taken out from your account or your account is not charged with expenses that you didn’t make.

Also read: Why your card doesn’t work abroad at ATMs & what to do?

1. Switch off International Transactions on your card account

Banking mobile apps and websites these days can offer you the option to switch on or off domestic and international transactions. If you have this option, do it as soon as soon as you realise your card is lost.

2. Temporarily freeze your card

Banking mobile apps and websites may also offer the option to “freeze” your card. Or call your bank helpline for this. Freezing the card means that in this state, the card cannot be used for any transaction. The freezing option is especially helpful while travelling abroad because if you do happen to find your card back, you can unfreeze and use it again. If you choose to “terminate” or “permanently block” your card, you won’t be able to use it even if you find it back and will have to order a new card. Your bank may or may not deliver a new card to an international address. However, if you lack this option, you should permanently block it to avoid misuse.

3. Go back to the ATM where you lost card abroad

There are kind human beings everywhere in the world. It can happen that you go back to the ATM and another customer you safely kept your card and gives it back to you or has left it with a security guard around. So rush back if you don’t find your card soon after you used the ATM.

Also read: Top 10 things to bring when travelling abroad.

4. Speak to a bank representative if you lose card abroad at an ATM inside a bank branch

If you forgot or lost your card at an ATM inside a bank branch, chances are high that the next customer has given it to a bank representative or a bank representative found it and kept it. Take your ID with you in this case. If you are far away already, you can try calling this bank branch and set up a time to find your card back.

5. Find your lost card at information helpdesks of supermarkets abroad

If you believe you lost your card at a big supermarket, many of them tend to have collection processes to keep lost cards for weeks. Employees, other customers, or cleaning staff hand lost cards at supermarkets to store managers or information helpdesks. This handover may can happen immediately or at the end of a working day. Make a few trips to that supermarket with your ID to possibly get your lost card back.

6. Retrace your walk back and look at the footpath

If you walked back from the ATM and believe that it may have slipped out of your pocket or wallet and fallen on the street, try to retrace your steps and see if you can find it on the footpath.

Also read: Top 8 things not to do when travelling abroad.

7. Ask the taxi customer service helpline to ask the driver

Its possible that you could accidentally forget your card in an Uber. If that happens, you can reach their customer service and explain the issue. They have systems to connect with the driver and identify if your lost card can be found in that taxi. Note – this may not be possible if you used a local taxi.

8. Report to your bank if you see a fraudulent transaction on your card

If a fraudster is quick, it can happen that a  transaction you didn’t authorize happens on your card before you can terminate or freeze it. If that happens, immediately call your bank to report the transaction. Many cards today come with in-built insurance. It’s possible that the lost amount may be refunded back to you by the bank. Check if your card comes with such benefits. 

9. Terminate the card if you’re sure it’s lost and will not find it back

Finally, even after trying these steps, you may have no luck in finding your lost card abroad. In that case, you are the safest to permanently block this card. You can usually do so from banking apps or websites or by calling the bank. If your bank offers, get a new card delivered to you abroad. If not, they will send it to your home address and you can request a friend or family member to send to you by courier.

1 thought on “Lose card abroad? Top 8 tips to get it back & save from misuse”

  1. worst nightmare for me 😀 i lost my card already last time in costa rica and i was totally lost what to do, should have known your blog by then i would have handled the situation much better. great information guys !

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