Credit cards are handy for travel expenses. But when they go missing or get stolen abroad, it can be a real hassle! The most ideal thing to do is of course, to take precautions to not lose your card. But sometimes, the inevitable happens, and it is important to know how to deal with such emergencies.
If you lose your card on home ground, you probably know how to go about making a police report, and you can visit your bank to get things sorted out. On the other hand, you’re pretty much on unfamiliar land overseas and the only way to communicate with your bank is over the phone. What do you need to report the loss of a credit card and terminate it? How do you ensure that you don’t lose any money through unauthorized transactions?
Before you leave the country
Know your bank’s policies – Find out your bank’s protocol for dealing with lost credit cards and unauthorized transactions. Some banks will compensate you for a certain amount of money lost through unauthorized transactions. Some banks have more sophisticated authentication platforms that require users to present more than just a card or card number to have their transaction approved. You may have to apply with your bank before these special features will be activated. Save your bank’s toll-free credit card loss report hotline for overseas users in your contact list that serves such emergencies.
Make copies of your cards and bring them with you – Credit/debit cards should be photocopied on both sides and kept in a safe place in your luggage. They will aid you in providing essential details about your card when you’re reporting the loss.
Ensure that your phone is able to receive calls and SMSes at your destination – Most banks will call you or send you an SMS if suspicious unauthorized activity is detected in your account.
Purchase travel insurance – Depending on your travel insurance’s policy, you can claim up to a certain amount of money lost through unauthorized transactions. Most travel insurance companies have a 24-hours help line to provide assistance to clients.
Always bring along some cash just in case – It would serve as backup expenses. Credit cards are good for shopping and large expenses, but it is not wise to rely on them completely, especially for necessities like food and transport. Not all places accept credit cards. Besides, if your card is damaged or lost, you would have nothing to fall back on.
Should you lose your credit card…
Call your bank’s credit card loss report hotline as soon as you discover the loss. Request that the card be terminated immediately. You may be asked to provide more information about the card to verify that you are the owner. This is where the photocopies of your card will come in handy.
Do check with the bank that no unauthorized transaction has been made. You may have to provide details of your last purchase. Therefore, be sure to keep your shopping receipts. It is also a good habit as you would be able to present them as proof if you are overcharged on your card.
If any transaction has been made without your approval, you may need to submit a police report to your bank or insurance company to terminate the transaction or file a compensation claim when you return to Singapore. After you have contacted your bank to terminate the card, file a lost property report at the nearest police post. Depending on the country’s regulations, some police reports can be filed online. You may ask your hotel concierge for assistance. Remember to note down the case number. Call your bank and present the case number as proof of your loss.
– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine